New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) agreed to pay a $2.2 million fine for allowing TV reality show to film two patients without obtaining their permissions.
The Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) took an action against the hospital on a complaint from the family of one patient whose film was recorded by the ABC television crew when he was dying patient.
New York Hospital violated rules by allowing the ABC crew to film a dying patient and another who was significant distress, according to regulators, who also said that the hospital permitted filming to continue even after a medical professional asked to stop.
The dying patient was Mark Chanko who was injured after hitting a garbage truck in 2011, The New York Times reported. Doctors were unable to save his life, but a crew from the ABC reality series, NY Med, successfully recorded operation room scenes.
While watching the show in 2012, Anita, Mr. Chanko’s widow, recognized her husband though his face was blurred and his voice was muffled. Mr. Chanko’s son Kenneth filed a complaint in 2013, but it took more than three years to resolve, the Times reported.
“This case sends an important message that OCR will not permit covered entities to compromise their patients’ privacy by allowing news or television crews to film the patients without their authorization,” OCR’s Director Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement.
OCR said that New York Hospital blatantly violated the HIPAA Rules, which does not allow filming of individuals receiving urgent medical care without their authorization. These rules are designed to prohibit the disclosure of individual’s information, including images, in circumstances such as these.
Regulators also found that the hospital failed to safeguard protected health information and allowed ABC film crews virtually unfettered access to its health care facility.
Further, OCR said that it will monitor NYP for two years as part of this settlement agreement to make the hospital remain compliant with its HIPAA obligations.
On the other hand, New York Hospital say that it did not violate HIPAA’S privacy rules. The hospital also agreed to update its privacy policies and provide additional training to staff.