Record Retrieval Services for Law Offices

Stories from the YoCierge HIPAA Compliance Department

May, 31, 2022

The Not So Friendly Neighborhood Healthcare Provider; When a Revocation Statement Is Used as an Excuse to Reject a Request

One of the most common reasons a record retrieval request gets delayed for a few days or weeks is that custodians are uncooperative. They are uncooperative in that they deny a third-party request outright; they do not respond to the request right away; or worse, they have company or office policies that are arbitrary, against the law, or both. Today's article revolves around the last example.

YoCierge, herein referred to as “the team,” is trusted by many law firms across the country to retrieve PHI on their behalf. This is why a big law firm in New York contracted the team to retrieve the records of their patient client from a certain New York healthcare provider. After sealing the deal, Yocierge put its best foot forward to retrieve the records.

And so it began; the tedious process of retrieving records. A few calls here and there; fax this and mail that. At first, the custodian was amiable to the request until they rejected the same on the ground that a provision in the Power of Attorney “allows the patient to revoke the POA anytime.” To be exact, the provision reads like this: “I have the right to revoke this authorization at any time by writing to the healthcare provider listed below.” The healthcare provider construed this to mean, “what if this authorization has been revoked and we didn't know?”

The team tried to inform the healthcare provider that in many instances, such a provision is common in authorizations, as this is one of the powers of the patient, not just under HIPAA but also in contracts entered by those who grant powers to another person through a POA or an authorization. It is one of the patient's safeguards whenever an act is done beyond the scope of the POA or authorization or if they just feel like revoking it. The team also tried to inform them that if the authorization had been revoked, wouldn't it be imperative that the law firm and YoCierge not be using the same as it would be illegal to do so? However, despite the glaring valid points, the healthcare provider rejected the company's request and insisted that we submit a new authorization that does not contain such a provision.

All seemed like a lost cause, but YoCierge did not concede without a fight. Acting to protect the patient's interests, the team resorted to seeking the help of the New York State Department of Health, Office of the Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) by filing a complaint against the healthcare provider for violating the patient's rights. (FYI, when you hire the services of YoCierge, this is free of charge, as it is part of the extended services provided by the team to retrieve the records of the patient.) Not long after, a correspondence from OPMC was received, informing us that they were now investigating the complaint. A week and a half later, OPMC called the team again to check if we had received the records. Lo and behold, we did, and OPMC informed us they were closing the case.

The extraordinary diligence that YoCierge exerts in retrieving records is in keeping with its integrity and reputation to deliver an exemplary service. This story is a manifestation of the kind of service our team provides. This is what makes YoCierge different from its competitors. It is not just a company that retrieves records but also a team with a passion and a heart that retrieves records.