HIPAA violation or not..?

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    There is a huge ordeal in my clinical group. I have managed to stay out of it (thankfully I wasn't there when it happened and haven't been forced into getting involved), but was wondering what you guys thought about this.

    The week before last in clinical, one of the students went to the nurses desk, called a friend, and told them that their step-mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and it looked pretty bad. The student did this in front of 2 students, a nurse (or more?), a doctor, and the unit secretary.

    She was turned in for violating HIPAA and was told by the hospital that she was not welcome back. Our clinical instructor told her to go home. She was later notified by the department that she had been dropped from the program.

    She appealed, of course, and continued to attend class.

    Her clinical review was last Thursday and this morning she was in class for our test... so I guess she is still in..

    what are your thoughts on this?
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  4. 0
    Quote from RNgrad2008
    The week before last in clinical, one of the students went to the nurses desk, called a friend, and told them that their step-mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and it looked pretty bad. The student did this in front of 2 students, a nurse (or more?), a doctor, and the unit secretary.

    She was turned in for violating HIPAA and was told by the hospital that she was not welcome back.
    This is one of the clearest examples of a HIPAA violation I've seen yet. Health care workers are NOT to release privileged medical information to anyone other than the patient, without the patient's direct (written) consent. Unless she can document that the stepmother asked her to do that, I think she is up the HIPAA creek without a paddle. It is not the nursing student's job to communicate medical information to the family about a patient. It's pretty clear what HIPAA requires. I don't see why she would still be in the program.
    Last edit by jov on Oct 16, '06
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    kinds of harsh isn't it? it depends upon what type of student she is (lvn, rn or what) and what year of school she is in. i can't see her knowingly violating these regulations. it's the responsibility of the instructor to provide orientation before coming on the hospital floor and it is the instructor who is responsible for everything she does. there is some information missing but she definitely made a mistake. she is a student though and the hospital should show some leniency.
  6. 0
    Even before Hippa this was wrong patients had confidentiality well before Hippa. What was she thinking? Obviously not.
  7. 0
    oh my, I can't believe a nursing student did this. You have to get the patients permission to inform any family member or friends of their condition. She has clearly violated the HIPPA laws. Even if she is a new nursing student HIPPA laws are usually the first thing the nursing instructors go over. She should of been kicked out of the program and she should of written an apology letter to the hosptial becuase they could have been sued for her miss doings.
  8. 0
    My question would be was she aware of HIPPA laws and the ramifications prior to doing this? If she was aware that what she was doing was in violation of the law, and she knew she would be terminated for this, then I think she should have been terminated.
  9. 0
    Quote from barbie90210
    i can't see her knowingly violating these regulations. it's the responsibility of the instructor to provide orientation before coming on the hospital floor
    i find it hard to believe that a hospital orientation would not include hipaa requirements. at every clinical i have been at, hipaa has been explained over and over again, with numerous examples, and we have signed a form to indicate we have been trained on hipaa. i have spent the past 25 years in the medical records field and hipaa has been in the forefront and all over every one's faces in the healthcare field for the last 5 years at least, big time. i don't see how anyone could possibly miss what hipaa regulations are and the ramifications for violating them. it's a federal law for crying out loud.

    i would also bet that her nursing student handbook at the school has a section regarding confidentiality. ours states: the concept of the right of individuals to privacy is taught throughout the nursing curriculum. privacy rights are protected by maintaining confidentiality. on a routine basis, the faculty addresses the legal, moral and professional consequences of breaches of confidentiality. the profession of nursing respects the autonomy of every individual and demands the maintenance of confidentiality at all times.

    furthermore, what about the state's nursing practice act? illinois sec 10-45 grounds for disciplinary action include:
    (21) willfully or negligently violating the confidentiality between nurse and patient except as required by law.

    i see no excuse.
    Last edit by jov on Oct 16, '06
  10. 0
    Quote from gr8rnpjt
    If she was aware that what she was doing was in violation of the law...
    as they say in court - Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
  11. 0
    Quote from barbie90210
    kinds of harsh isn't it? it depends upon what type of student she is (lvn, rn or what) and what year of school she is in. i can't see her knowingly violating these regulations. it's the responsibility of the instructor to provide orientation before coming on the hospital floor and it is the instructor who is responsible for everything she does. there is some information missing but she definitely made a mistake. she is a student though and the hospital should show some leniency.
    one, it doesn't depend on what kind of student she is. all nursing students are well versed in hipaa before attending clinicals, as other posters have mentioned. lpn/rn makes no difference in liability where this is concerned.

    two, the hospital owes no leniency in this case (imho). as a nursing student in a clinical setting, you do practice under the license of the instructor. you will also be given strict orientation with regard to hipaa that will involve your signature on a document stating you have been trained.

    this girl did make a huge mistake, and should have been dismissed from the hospital, clinical group, and the program.
  12. 0
    Just because she was in class, you have no idea of where she stands in terms of the nursing program.

    And it really should make no difference to you. Again, think of HIPAA.

    She was dismissed from that facility which means that the issue was dealt with when it needed to be, but anything else is her private affair. And should remain such.

    It is inappropriate for anyone to discuss a patient unless specifically asked to, and then it is also inappropriate to discuss another student here.

    The world wide web is not as anonymous as you think.


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