In § 164.514(d)(4), we propose that a covered plan or provider that denies an individual’s request for inspection and copying in whole or in part be required to provide the individual with a written statement in plain language explaining the reason for the denial. The statement could include a direct reference to the section of the regulation relied upon for the denial, but the regulatory citation alone would not sufficiently explain the reason for the denial. The statement would need to include the name and number of the contact person or office within the entity who is responsible for receiving complaints. In addition, the statement would need to include information regarding the submission of a complaint with the Department pursuant to § 164.522(b).
We considered proposing that covered plans and providers provide a mechanism for appealing a denial of inspection and copying. We believe, however, that the requirement proposed in § 164.518(d) that covered plans and providers have complaint procedures to address patient and enrollee privacy issues generally would allow the individual to raise the issue of a denial with the covered plan or provider. We would expect the complaint procedures to be scalable; for example, a large plan might develop a standard complaint process in each location where it operates whereas, a small practice might simply refer the original request and denial to the clinician in charge for review. We would encourage covered plans and providers to institute a system of appeals, but would not require it by regulation. In addition, the individual would be permitted to file a complaint with the Department pursuant to § 164.522(b).