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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Possible HIPAA Violation

    I would like to know if a doctor's nurse goes out into the public part of the office (where other patients are seated waiting for appointments) and talks about other patients to the other employees of that office is a violation of hipaa? Or is there a certain type of lawyer I need to get in touch with and if so what kind of lawyer would that be?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Possible HIPAA Violation

    No medical personnel are permtted to discuss patient's names, illnesses or related information in front of the general public. However, in a physicians office, relative patient information for scheduling and the like are discussed in the office and occasionally, some members of the public may hear this.

    HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was designed to prevent the medical community from sharing a patient's confidential medical information with the general public or media.

    Let's say John Doe was transported to a nearby trauma center because he was shot. The Paramedics that transported him, the Physician and nursing staff, surgeons, ect.. may not discuss his identity, injuries, diagnosis, past or current medical conditions or his insurance information in a public area and may not have his information given to the general pubic or media unless he consents to allow this.

    Having a child myself that was committed into an in patient psychiatric facility, I made a written statement and advised this facility's staff that in no way shape or form was my biological child allowed contact with my ex-wife or her family as they were not directly related. Pursuant to HIPAA, the facility violated this law by giving out medical information regarding my Daughter's mental condition and allowing them to visit her. Additionally, I had to file an official complaint with the facility administrator and state advocate. Should they deem that there has been a violation, you may have a legal case.

    This was a direct violation of the act and law and the facility was fined and that satisfied me just fine.

    I don't know what state you are in, but here in Michigan, facilities are extremely strict on how patient information is handled where it is still lax in other states.

    For EMS one example would be best explained like this:

    We are prevented from discussing particular details of patients that we handled in public. Such as:

    Hey, remember that run we had on Joe Blow last night over on Green Street? Well he died from his gun shot wound last night after we transported him to Homer's Hospital (Ficticious name). Dr. so and so said that his femoral arteries were too damaged and couldn't be repaired during surgery and he bled to death in the O.R.

    If something like this is said in the general public, we are subject to fines and or imprisonement and the potential for termination or suspension of our medic licenses (should there be an official complaint.) for making these statements in public. Not to mention the possibility of a family member or a family friend overhearing a conversation like this.

    On the other hand, if we discuss it in this manner:

    (One medic to another.) I guess that guy we transported last night passed away.

    This does not give away any of a patient's identity, medical conditions or any other means of being identified.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Possible HIPAA Violation

    I am in Texas. The nurse went out ito the ront area where patients are working and girls answering the phones and said something vry insultingabout meoud enough for everyone th hear. There is alot more o the story butt too long to put it all here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    supratentorial region
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    818

    Default Re: Possible HIPAA Violation

    Quote Quoting anmajon1
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    I am in Texas. The nurse went out ito the ront area where patients are working and girls answering the phones and said something vry insultingabout meoud enough for everyone th hear. There is alot more o the story butt too long to put it all here.
    If she did not reveal you were a patient and did not divulge your personal medical information, there was no violation. Simply saying something rude about someone, who also just happens to be a patient, is not a HIPAA violation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Possible HIPAA Violation

    what she said was , if i ( used my name) called again to talk to the office manager, they were to not let me talk to her but to this other woman who was supposed to be doing her job and wasn't so i had to keep calling, then she said the reason i was calling the office manager was for sympathy. a member of my family works there and it was said loud enough for the whole waiting room to hear. if i weren't a patient i wouldn't be calling there and she did use my name. i think it's awful that professionals can act this way. i haven't been there since because they are just so nasty, i have switched doctors. thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    supratentorial region
    Posts
    818

    Default Re: Possible HIPAA Violation

    Quote Quoting anmajon1
    View Post
    what she said was , if i ( used my name) called again to talk to the office manager, they were to not let me talk to her but to this other woman who was supposed to be doing her job and wasn't so i had to keep calling, then she said the reason i was calling the office manager was for sympathy. a member of my family works there and it was said loud enough for the whole waiting room to hear. if i weren't a patient i wouldn't be calling there and she did use my name. i think it's awful that professionals can act this way. i haven't been there since because they are just so nasty, i have switched doctors. thanks
    The Doctor probably doesn't even know this has happened and would probably like to know why he/she may be losing patients. I suggest writing a letter to the Doc. Mark it "Personal and Confidential" and send it Certified Mail RRR. Explain your point of view regarding the incident. You may not get a reply but, hopefully, the Doc will speak to his/her staff and see to it that they are re-trained in professional behavior.

    You were not present when the incident occurred. No PHI was discussed. There is no violation. However, I agree that it was unprofessional.

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