TV Documentary Case: New York hospital reaches $2.2 million settlement with authorities

The Department of Health and Human Services have reached a $2.2 million settlement with New York-Presbyterian Hospital over the matter of filming a television documentary in which health information of two patients was disclosed without their authorization.

The federal authorities said that the hospital allowed the ABC crew for ‘NY Med’ film one patient who was in dying condition and another was in chronic distress. Both the parties have reached a settlement under which the department’s Office of Civil Rights will monitor the hospital for two years.

Office Director Jocelyn Samuels said that they take all complaints filed by individuals very seriously and will take all the needed steps to ensure that the patients’ privacy is fully protected.

“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”, mentioned Samuels.

New York-Presbyterian spokeswoman Karen Sodomick said that the hospital’s aim was to educate people about important public health issues and filming does not violate the federal patient privacy rules.

This program and others have received critical acclaim. They have been able to manage the public’s consciousness of important public health issues including organ transplantation and donation. In March, New York’s Court of Appeals came back with Anita Chanko’s lawsuit against the hospital.

It was with regard to filming of her husband’s death after he was brought into the emergency room. Mark Chanko was hit by a truck when crossing a street in April 2011. The episode was aired in 2012. In the video, his video was blurred and was not identified and was heard talking.

On Thursday, HHS said that allowing individuals getting urgent medical care to be filmed by media without authorization, the hospital’s actions ‘blatantly violate’ federal HIPPA rules.

“New York Presbyterian Hospital has agreed to a $2.2 million settlement with the federal government over the “egregious disclosure” of patients’ health information, the Department of Health & Human Services announced Thursday. The violations occurred after the hospital gave the ABC reality TV show, “NY Med,” starring Dr. Mehmet Oz, “unfettered access to its healthcare facility,” according to a news report published by ArsTechnica.

“This case sends an important message that OCR [the HHS Office for Civil Rights] will not permit covered entities to compromise their patients’ privacy by allowing news or television crews to film the patients without their authorization,” Jocelyn Samuels, OCR’s Director, said in a statement.

“And then I see, even with the blurred picture, you could tell it was him,” she said at the time. “You could hear his speech pattern. I hear my husband say, `Does my wife know I’m here?'” She watched the subsequent footage of her husband moaning in pain as his blood pressure falls and the doctors get out defibrillation paddles. “I saw my husband die before my eyes.”

According to a story published on the topic by NY Post, “New York Presbyterian hospital has coughed up $2.2 million to settle claims that it violated medical ethics by allowing the Dr. Oz-hosted “NY Med” program to film patients without their consent – including one who suffered and died on camera. The settlement was announced Thursday by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, which called the disclosures “egregious.”

Federal officials found that “NYP allowed the ABC crew to film someone who was dying and another person in significant distress even after a medical professional urged the crew to stop.” “The hospital continues to maintain that the filming of this documentary program did not violate the HIPAA Privacy Rule,” New York Presbyterian said in a statement.

A report published in CNBC revealed, “New York Presbyterian Hospital, among other things, “allowed the ABC crew to film someone who was dying and another person in significant distress, even after a medical professional urged the crew to stop,” the Office for Civil Rights of the U. S. Health and Human Services Department said Thursday in announcing the deal. ”

In addition to the $2.2 million settlement for potential violations, New York Presbyterian agreed to a “comprehensive corrective action plan” and to be monitored for two years by the Office of Civil Rights to make sure the hospital complies with federal rules, commonly called HIPAA, that protect the privacy of patient health records.

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