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I called an former employee that left the company the day prior about her schedule, All I asked was who was it you saw on Tuesday at a certain facility? Now, I didn’t mention any names but the person I asked did and that was basically the end of the conversation. Is there any violation?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule protects from the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable health information that pertains to a consumer of health care services. The privacy rule applies to covered entities such as health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. Most employers are not covered entities; however, an employer with a health clinic of any kind or one who acts as the intermediary between its employees and health care providers is covered under the law.
Personally identifiable health information is information that specifically identifies an individual. Examples include health care claims, doctor’s notes, enrollment information, premium payments, and reports of injuries or illnesses.

Violations occur when personally identifiable health information is provided by a covered entity without the prior consent of the client. If your former worker now works for the medical facility that you asked her about then a violation occurred.

Keep in mind that even though you may not be the one who provided protected information, you solicited it. Though this may not violate HIPAA, it’s unethical and may possibly violate other legislation depending upon the information obtained and what it is used for.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 7:18 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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