HIPAA violation

  1. 0 I am being accused by my employer that I violated HIPAA. I filed a complaint with Dept of Public Health/Board of Nursing against my previous boss, who has been terminated, as she was most likely (which is why the complaint was filed) forging nurses signatures and altering patient records.

    As part of the complaint form provided by DPH, it states to send "attach copies of documents such as: witness statements, medical records, copies of prescriptions, photographs etc that support your statements."

    I faxed medical records--- nursing notes and medication lists. I blacked out ALL pt identifying information and actually wrote that I had blacked these items out to protect patient confidentiality.

    Did I violate HIPAA? I feel as though this is retaliation for reporting. I also know that other nurses whom I work with filed complaints and faxed in medical records also.

    help

    scared nurse
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  3. Visit  Bee_home care profile page

    About Bee_home care

    Bee_home care has '10' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'psychiatric home care'. From 'New England'; Joined Jun '11; Posts: 17; Likes: 4.

    13 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Whispera profile page
    1
    Are you sure this is the reason you're being accused? If so, how would they even know you did it?

    If the papers had all identifying information blacked out completely, I don't see a problem.

    I think you need to contact a lawyer...how about contacting your nursing malpractice insurance company and seeing if they can help you?

    Why would your employer retaliate for actions taken by your terminated boss?
    lrobinson5 likes this.
  5. Visit  SushiRN profile page
    1
    Agreed, I don't see how it's a HIPPA violation if the records that you are giving has no patient information on it. How can they tell what patient it belongs to? They can't.
    canoehead likes this.
  6. Visit  MrChicagoRN profile page
    1
    There was a case in Tx where an adminstrator, a doctor & a sheriff tried that sort of garbage against 2 nurses reporting misconduct to the appropriate board.

    The nurses were exonerated, and the three are facing criminal charges.

    It's likely you are completely protected under the law, but you may want to contact your state bar association for a low cost referral for clarification.
    canoehead likes this.
  7. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    2
    bear in mind that there are more people in health care who have no frickin' idea of what hipaa means than you can imagine. i like to say, "i can't tell you that because of hipaa" means, "i was too lazy to get up and look it up in the binder on the other side of the nurses' station/i slept through that inservice." some of these people are in management. do yourself a huge favor and go to the ocr.gov website and look at the hipaa faqs, or google them. print them out. in this case, they are your dear friend. check also the parts about sharing information with regulatory and government agencies (like dph and bon).

    if you have blacked out all patient identifying data in your fax submission, you have not violated hipaa. of course it's intimidation on the part of the employer; whoever their mouthpiece is, is one of those ignorant clucks. don't be intimidated. pity them.

    you do have malpractice insurance, right? if so, call them and ask about the lawyer you're able to get from them. if not, call your state nurses association and tell them your story. they will be interested.
    3rdcareerRN and canoehead like this.
  8. Visit  Ashley, PICU RN profile page
    0
    According to my hospital's policy, the medical record, or any part of the patient's chart, is the property of the hospital. Removing it from the hospital (ie. making copies and mailing them) without the hospitals permission, if a violation. Regardless of whether the patient's information is blacked out. Maybe not a HIPAA violation, but definately a violation of the hospital policy and possibly theft.

    You should contact a lawyer about this allegation and the best way to handle it.
  9. Visit  Isabelle49 profile page
    0
    Quote from Bee_home care
    I am being accused by my employer that I violated HIPAA. I filed a complaint with Dept of Public Health/Board of Nursing against my previous boss, who has been terminated, as she was most likely (which is why the complaint was filed) forging nurses signatures and altering patient records.

    As part of the complaint form provided by DPH, it states to send "attach copies of documents such as: witness statements, medical records, copies of prescriptions, photographs etc that support your statements."

    I faxed medical records--- nursing notes and medication lists. I blacked out ALL pt identifying information and actually wrote that I had blacked these items out to protect patient confidentiality.

    Did I violate HIPAA? I feel as though this is retaliation for reporting. I also know that other nurses whom I work with filed complaints and faxed in medical records also.

    help

    scared nurse
    Don't be scared anymore. You did NOT violate HIPAA. The DPH may request the information including patient information in the future, as I think they will need this for the whole picture. But you are not in violation of HIPAA.
  10. Visit  Isabelle49 profile page
    1
    As a whistleblower, you are protected.
    canoehead likes this.
  11. Visit  Bee_home care profile page
    0
    Thanks everyone

    I am reassured that I did not break HIPAA regs. My attorney believes this is a retaliatory action by my employer as some of you mentioned and says that I am protected under Whistleblower law.

    Other nurses who I work with also sent medical records as part of their complaints, so there is hopefully strength in numbers also.

    As a home care nurse, we ALWAYS have medical records out of the office, as most of us have home offices.

    any more thoughts?

    less scared nurse (but still scared)
  12. Visit  Isabelle49 profile page
    0
    Quote from Bee_home care
    Thanks everyone

    I am reassured that I did not break HIPAA regs. My attorney believes this is a retaliatory action by my employer as some of you mentioned and says that I am protected under Whistleblower law.

    Other nurses who I work with also sent medical records as part of their complaints, so there is hopefully strength in numbers also.

    As a home care nurse, we ALWAYS have medical records out of the office, as most of us have home offices.

    any more thoughts?

    less scared nurse (but still scared)
    Don't be scared. Someone is trying to "Rambo" you!
  13. Visit  Isabelle49 profile page
    0
    Bee are you in Home health? Years ago the DON of a company I worked for asked if I would get some extra nurses notes signed by a patient who has severe dementia. This lady would have signed anything and there were no family members in the home. I could not believe that I was asked to do this and just ignored the request. The following week the DON asked me if I had gotten the extra notes signed and I said , 'no'. Another nurse in the room said she was seeing the patient that week and would get some signed. I resigned that day and notified DHH. They said they would not investigate because I left the agency! What a joke!
  14. Visit  Bee_home care profile page
    0
    So a little more stuff

    I met with my former boss's supervisor (I will call him Bill) , my new supervisor and HR rep today. Several other nurses and I believe that "Bill" was involved in the coverup of forged documents several months ago and that he is retaliating against me because he feels he can intimidate me.

    "Bill" said that he had received a complaint from DPH that I had violated HIPAA by sending them patient records which had patient identifying information on them. I replied that I had removed all identifying patient information and asked to see the complaint, as "Bill" was holding several papers in his hands and looking at them occasionally. He replied "Oh, these? (referring to the papers in his hands) These don't have anything to do with this." It sure seemed like they were related to the matter. I think he probably planned it to appear that way. When I asked to see the complaint, he really started to squirm. I asked how he received the complaint and he said that he got a phone call, but did not have anything in writing. He also said that DPH only received a complaint about my former boss from me and I informed him that this was not the case and that at least 4 other nurses also filed complaints and that 3 of the 4 had received letters from DPH confirming receipt of the complaints and that the reason that the woman from DPH/BON contacted me was that I was the one because I had provided the most information.

    So, that said, my attorney and I believe that this is retaliation for reporting my former boss to DPH and that "Bill" is trying to make me react foolishly and have a reason to terminate me.

    He did not get any sort of reaction from me. I was calm, cool and collected. It was a pleasure to see him squirm when I didn't react. The meeting lasted less than 15 minutes and nothing was mentioned re disciplinary action.

    When I got back in my car, I couldn't keep from laughing at how much of an jerk "Bill" is. As one of you said earlier and I love it "He is really an ignorant cluck!!!!"

    much less scared
  15. Visit  JustBeachyNurse profile page
    0
    Don't you just love lying fools? Pile of papers to intimidate you? Couldn't he at least be a little more creative?

    Sounds like you are on solid ground right now and the "HIPAA complaint" is little more than a smoke screen to try and intimidate you into rescinding your complaint. If the DPH/BON contacts you again, you might just want to advise them of 'Bill's' intimidation tactics which can be construed as witness tampering in some states.


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