HIPAA violation or not..? - page 3

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... Read More

  1. by   leeae85
    Quote from angiebabe03
    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.

    I agree, we went over HIPPA soooo many times, way before we EVER stepped into any healthcare facility. My first week of nursing school, I could have taught a seminar on HIPPA!
  2. by   slou!
    Quote from JentheRN05
    No a dr can't tell visitors about a patients condition without their specific permission to do so. Now - if the visitors are in the room when the doctor is delivering the news, then it would be prudent for him to ask them to leave, because it would NOT be appropriate for him to ask the patient for their permission with various people in the room. Same with a nurse.
    Basically I would start a confidential conversation like this
    'Mrs. B I have the results of your test. But since you have company, I can come back later or would you like me to discuss it privately?' It is the patients responsibility to say 'oh no - it's okay this is my daughter - you can tell her' Not anyones but the patients decision. If the patient is not conscious, for example, sedation, or whatever - they sign a waiver at the beginning of hospital stay which states who can be privy to their personal information.
    If it was an accident. It would be the patients immediate family member who would be involved becoming at that point the patients advocate (if so necessary) or be given the specifics. I can't tell you for sure about the unconscious upon arrival patient though. I'm sure they contact the next of kin and bring them in. Because someone has to sign the admission forms.
    In either case - a patient generally signs the admission forms which in them designates who can and can't be talked to.
    Thank you for making that more clear for me! I'm sure I'll get it in much more detail before I do clinicals and all, but I was just curious.

    So, let's say Jane is in a car accident. Jane's husband, Joe, goes to the hospital. The doctor would be allowed to give Joe Jane's information, right? Is it because they are married and Joe can legally speak for Jane when she is unable to speak for herself? What about girlfriends/boyfriends? Or sisters/brothers parents/children or other family members? Sorry if I'm asking too many questions, I'm just trying to get a clear perspective. Thanks so much to all who answer my many questions
  3. by   Pat_Pat RN
    Does anyone *KNOW* if the patient did not ask this person to call for them? I frequently have patients ask me to call "so-and-so" for them.
    Pat
  4. by   ginger58
    I may be thrown off this forum but in all honesty, some of your replies sound like she killed someone. Every place I've worked there are HIPPA violations going on all over the place involving staff talking about patients in non-confidential terms. There are far worse things being done every day.
    She made a mistake. She probably thought more about informing her friends for their sake and HIPPA was secondary. She can review HIPPA and get on with her career. If it keeps happening then she should be removed.
    Can you honestly say that if your best friend's mother was brought in to the hospital you wouldn't call your friend?
  5. by   kukukajoo
    Jen- It would actually be a HIPPA violation if they mentioned any test in front of the guest of the pt. Like Mrs S, I have the results of your AIDS test.... I have the results of your biopsy, pregnancy test, etc.

    The doctor would have no way to know who the person is in the room in relation to the pt and could not speak medical lingo unless the pt suggested he do so.
  6. by   Jolie
    Quote from ginger58
    She probably thought more about informing her friends for their sake and HIPPA was secondary...
    Can you honestly say that if your best friend's mother was brought in to the hospital you wouldn't call your friend?

    Yes, I can. To do so without the patient's express permission is a violation of federal law.

    Sorry if anyone thinks that is too harsh, but that's how it is.

    I value my license and livelihood too much to take a STUPID chance like that!
  7. by   WDWpixieRN
    It just makes sense....it's not anyone else's duty or right or obligation to notify family members of anything health-related unless given permission or specifically asked...

    My daughter was pregnant 5 years ago and thought she was in labor. Her "lovely" (now ex-) husband was working or whatever...so I took her to the hospital....the RN who came in to check her early on in L & D (and was not a nice person to begin with) came out and said something about testing her for her STD (forget which one now)....I'm sure I looked shocked and my daughter just kept nodding at the RN with tears running down her cheeks...she hadn't told me what she suspected as she was humiliated (turns out she found out later she wasn't infected after all)....the RN was clueless and went about her way....

    But when another nurse came on later and she could tell we were upset, we told her what had happened....the first nurse came back later and said, "Oh, since you had your mom in here, I figured she knew. Sorry." like she meant it about 5%.

    Too bad HIPAA wasn't in force then...and it's situations like that that probably helped enact a law that was needed for folks who don't have a lick of common sense....best words of wisdom: if you're in doubt, keep your trap shut. I wouldn't ever want to do that to a patient of mine or their family.
  8. by   corvette1973
    Well, s/he is a nursing STUDENT! She is only there for part of the shift & s/he is there to learn. She should have asked the nursing instructor assigned to her what to do. She violated the HIPAA act big time & if this is a dysfunctional family... well, you get the point.
  9. by   txspadequeenRN
    It does not matter she should have reported this to the patients nurse or her nursing instructor.


    Quote from Pat_Pat
    Does anyone *KNOW* if the patient did not ask this person to call for them? I frequently have patients ask me to call "so-and-so" for them.
    Pat
  10. by   ddzwalker
    I guess my only question is was the student asked to call the family by the patient?
    If s/he was, is it still a HIPPA violation?
    Dot
  11. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from ginger58
    I may be thrown off this forum but in all honesty, some of your replies sound like she killed someone. Every place I've worked there are HIPPA violations going on all over the place involving staff talking about patients in non-confidential terms. There are far worse things being done every day.
    She made a mistake. She probably thought more about informing her friends for their sake and HIPPA was secondary. She can review HIPPA and get on with her career. If it keeps happening then she should be removed.
    Can you honestly say that if your best friend's mother was brought in to the hospital you wouldn't call your friend?
    No, I wouldn't.

    Better question: Can you honestly say that if your best friend's mother was in the hospital that your best friend doesn't know about it? So why do you have a need to inform them? Did the patient ask you to call?

    I have a few family members that I would NOT want to know of a hospitalization. They're pushy, they ignore the rules, they make unreasonable demands on me and the staff, and worst of all, they're waiting like a pack of vulture to pounce on me as soon as I get home to recover.

    I don't want them to know that I'm sick--and therefore vulnerable.

    HIPAA governs more than just healthcare workers. It governs anyone who has any access to my private health information.

    Please, even if you can't understand or respect my personal wishes as a patient or an individual, please know that this is the law, and though it can be inconvenient in some ways for some of us, it's a blessing to others.
  12. by   Jolie
    Let's assume for a moment that this student made the phone call without the patient's consent.

    I think we would all agree that constitutes a HIPAA violation. Then the question becomes: What should her punishment be? Is it too harsh to dismiss her from the class? In my opinion, no. Here's why:

    Most nursing education programs rely on good-will agreements with local hospitals and healthcare facilities to provide adequate clinical sites for their students. Unlike the "olden days" when nursing schools were run by hospitals, most community college and university-based nursing programs do not own or control the hospitals where their clinicals take place. They are essentially "guests" of the hospitals that agree to provide clinical sites. That makes it possible for a hospital to terminate a clinical agreement with a nursing program if having the nursing students present creates too much of a "burden" or liability on the hosital. Having a student create a situation where the hospital could be liable for a federal violation, might make the hospital administration decide that it is no longer worth their while to welcome students from this particular nursing program. While I doubt that a hospital would cancel a clinical agreement over one violation, it is necessary for the nursing school to demonstrate to the hospital that they take the issue seriously in order to maintain a good relationship with the hospital. The school may elect to expel this student in order to retain a clinical site that serves dozens of other students.

    Secondly, this student has demonstrated incredibly bad judgement. That she would take it upon herself to contact a family member without first discussing it with her instructor and/or the patient's nurse would make me wonder (as a clinical instructor) what else whe will do without first consulting an instructor or staff nurse. Will she ambulate an unstady patient on her own? Will she give medications without prior authorization? Will she make independent decisions regarding insulin and pain meds?

    This student presents too much of a risk to allow her to continue in this clinical rotation.
    Last edit by Jolie on Oct 18, '06
  13. by   ladyinred667
    Quote from Jolie
    Let's assume for a moment that this student made the phone call without the patient's consent.

    I think we would all agree that constitutes a HIPAA violation. Then the question becomes: What should her punishment be? Is it too harsh to dismiss her from the class? In my opinion, no. Here's why:

    Most nursing education programs rely on good-will agreements with local hospitals and healthcare facilities to provide adequate clinical sites for their students. Unlike the "olden days" when nursing schools were run by hospitals, most community college and university-based nursing programs do not own or control the hospitals where their clinicals take place. They are essentially "guests" of the hospitals that agree to provide clinical sites. That makes it possible for a hospital to terminate a clinical agreement with a nursing program if having the nursing students present creates too much of a "burden" or liability on the hosital. Having a student create a situation where the hospital could be liable for a federal violation, might make the hospital administration decide that it is no longer worth their while to welcome students from this particular nursing program. While I doubt that a hospital would cancel a clinical agreement over one violation, it is necessary for the nursing school to demonstrate to the hospital that they take the issue seriously in order to maintain a good relationship with the hospital. The school may elect to expel this student in order to retain a clinical site that serves dozens of other students.

    Secondly, this student has demonstrated incredibly bad judgement. That she would take it upon herself to contact a family member without first discussing it with her instructor and/or the patient's nurse would make me wonder (as a clinical instructor) what else whe will do without first consulting an instructor or staff nurse. Will she ambulate an unstady patient on her own? Will she give medications without prior authorization? Will she make independent decisions regarding insulin and pain meds?

    This student presents too much of a risk to allow her to continue in this clinical rotation.
    :yeahthat:

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