Policy Statement:  The North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN) provides a complaint process for any Individual or Participant to register a complaint.

Definitions

“Authorized Users” are individuals who have been authorized by a Participant to participate in the HIE and may include, but are not limited to, health care providers, employees, contractors, agents, or business associates of a Participant.

“Individual” means a person who is the subject of Protected Health Information (PHI) and has the same meaning as the term “Individual” in 45 C.F.R. § 164.501 and shall include a person who qualifies as a personal representative in accordance with 45 C.F.R. § 164.502(g).

“Participant” means an organization, health care provider or institution, health plan, or health care clearinghouse who has executed a written Participation Agreement and Business Associate Agreement with the NDHIN.

Who May file a Complaint

An Individual or a person on behalf of an Individual may file a complaint concerning:
 

  • the impermissible use, disclosure or disposal of PHI
  • denials of access to Individual PHI  
  • retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint 

A Participant or its Authorized Users, or member of the NDHIN workforce may file a complaint concerning the following issues:

  • violation of policies and procedures
  • the impermissible use, disclosure or disposal of PHI
  • retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint 

Complaints relating to a Participant or its Authorized Users

Each Participant shall implement a process for workforce members, agents, contractors and Individuals to report any non-compliance with policies and a process for Individuals whose health information is shared through NDHIN to file a complaint with the Participant about impermissible disclosures and uses of information about them.

The Participant shall investigate the complaint and shall provide a written response to the complainant. The response must include information about how the complainant may forward the complaint to the NDHIN if the complaint concerns NDHIN.

Complaints relating to the NDHIN

The complaint must be in writing and contain the complainant’s name and contact information. No personal health information should be included.  Verbal complaints will not be accepted by NDHIN. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted by NDHIN.  The form is available here or call NDHIN at 701.328.2508.  The complaint form may be submitted by mail or electronically.

If the complaint relates to a suspected violation or breach of PHI, the complaint must be filed within 180 days from the date of becoming aware of a suspected violation.

If the complaint relates to NDHIN, NDHIN shall review and investigate the complaint.

A complaint against NDHIN must be submitted to:

North Dakota Health Information Network
c/o Privacy Officer
4201 Normandy Street
Bismarck, ND 58503-1324
Phone: 701.328.2508

Or submitted by email to: ndhin@nd.gov

NDHIN shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 2 business days.

NDHIN shall issue a written response to the Individual or Participant within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, unless under extenuating circumstances, NDHIN may extend this deadline and provide the Individual or Participant written notification of the delay.

The response must include information about how the complainant may forward the complaint to the Health Information Technology (HIT) Director.

If the complainant is not satisfied by the NDHIN investigation, findings, and any proposed resolution of the complaint, the complainant may send the complaint to the HIT Director for further review and consideration.

A complaint may be sent to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee for review if there is a conflict for the HIT Director in reviewing the complaint.

The disposition of a complaint shall be documented by NDHIN.

General

NDHIN will maintain the confidentiality of the Individual who files a complaint.

NDHIN shall not retaliate, discriminate against, intimidate, coerce, or threaten any person who files a complaint.

Documentation concerning a complaint including response and resolution shall be maintained by NDHIN for six (6) years.

NDHIN shall periodically analyze filed complaints to determine if persistent or recurrent problems exist and make recommendations to correct identified problems.

Filing a Complaint with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Individuals are encouraged to file a complaint with a Participant or the NDHIN to resolve an issue. However, an Individual or a person on behalf of an Individual may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, within 180 days from the date of becoming aware of a suspected violation of the Individual’s Protected Health Information or privacy rights.