Athletes Visiting Sick Children & HIPAA

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    So..I was just looking on facebook and saw some really cute pictures of 3 Patriots players with a bunch of sick children at Children's Hospitals. The kids looked so happy, I almost cried!

    But then I thought....how is this not a HIPAA violation? Posting pictures on the Patriots Facebook page of players at the hospital with patients. Now I'm sure these parents gave permission for photos but did they know it'd be posted on facebook? And where is the line? If nurses did this, wouldn't they be in big trouble with their state boards?
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    HIPAA doesn't apply to the players but if the family didn't fully consent then the FACILITY and possibly staff members could be in trouble. Most consents for photography include giving away full rights to the photo for use and distribution. HIPAA applies to facilities, their employees and insurers. Technically it doesnt apply to healthcare workers who do not bill insurance. (I worked in a clinical research facility, independent not affiliated with any medical center. Since we billed our oharmaceutical clients for services but not the study participants/patients or any insurance company HIPAA did not apply to us. However huge ethical and confidentiality policies did apply. )
    Esme12 likes this.
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    We do this in my hospital sometimes. Parents have to give permission for the players to come in and visit. Often there is a photographer present as well. The parents also have to give consent for the child to be photographed. I'm not sure if there was a signed release obtained for the posted photos, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    In our hospital, these activities are coordinated by the child life department (with permission from hospital administration) who is responsible for arranging the visits and getting consent. These events often happen without the knowledge of nursing. In fact, sometimes we don't even know the players have visited until our patients/parents talk about it. So I don't really see how the nurses could be held liable for an activity that was approved by administration which we had no knowledge of.
    GrnTea and Esme12 like this.
  5. 0
    I wasn't thinking nursing staff liability but child life and/or PR staff if the permitted photos without written parental consent.
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    I am thinking that a ton of permission is signed and I am sure the pictures are "owned by the NFL" and the parents have to agree not to reproduce them for profit. I think the difference is clear.

    Ham Let's see............Approved visit by a famous person to take picture with children with approval of facility and parents. Nurse with cell phone taking picture at work for fun while caring for that particular child......... and posting them on FB for fun.

    Which is the violation? The key to HIPAA is PERMISSION. Besides the athletes are not bound by HIPAA as they are not healthcare workers bound by confidentiality agreements about medical information in the care of that child. The hospital is bound by HIPAA and must assure the permission has been granted by the parents.
    GrnTea and NicuGal like this.
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    Quote from Ashley, PICU RN
    ...............These events often happen without the knowledge of nursing. In fact, sometimes we don't even know the players have visited until our patients/parents talk about it. So I don't really see how the nurses could be held liable for an activity that was approved by administration which we had no knowledge of.
    LOL, just because admin approved it and just because nurses weren't informed about it or just because nurses weren't even aware of the visit, doesn't mean that nurses won't be blamed if something goes wrong.
    VictoriaGayle likes this.


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