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Nov15

HIPAA Violation

Recently we had an employee tell several other employees that this patient by name was arrested in our ER? Was that a violation of HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates that covered entities comply with requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information. A covered entity is an individual or organization that uses and/or exchanges confidential medical data. Common covered entities include doctors, clinics, company health plans and government programs that pay for healthcare.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects “individually identifiable health information”, including data that relates to:
• an individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
• the provision of health care to an individual, or
• the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual;
and data that identifies an individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify an individual. Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number).

Even though employees in an ER are bound by HIPAA, disclosing non-health related information may be unprofessional and inappropriate but it generally isn’t a violation of HIPAA. Now, if the employee stated that the patient was arrested for public intoxication and has a history of alcoholism then a violation occurred since the patient’s medical history was disclosed.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 10:32 pm and is filed under
Labor Laws.
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