HIPAA and 15-minutes-of-fame are not compatible. In September 2018, the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that it had reached settlements with Boston Medical Center (“BMC”), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (“BWH”), and Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”) totaling $999,000, to resolve allegations that the hospitals had violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”)—by inviting film crews on premises to film a television network documentary series, without first obtaining authorization from patients whose protected health information (“PHI”) was disclosed.

OCR initiated its compliance reviews of BMC and BWH based on a January 12, 2015 Boston Globe article, which indicated BMC and BWH had permitted ABC News to film a medical documentary program at BMC and BWH.

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