HIPAA violation or just a bad decision? - page 3

by concerned2012 16,240 Views | 75 Comments

i have a question that may seem like a homework assignment but this is not. i'm concerned that a individual, that is a rn, may have made a big mistake. a nurse that is an assistant manager of a picu sent a picture via text of a... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from sailornurse
    As a professional healthcare worker, we have a duty to report, to be pt advocates.
    Yes, i'm well aware of this. But if i'm sent a picture and I turn the sender into management, why would I get in trouble?What the receivers are worried about is busting their friend and Co worker, is my thought.The Op did not say how much time has lapsed from the time the pictures were taken.
  2. 10
    If you receive this kind of picture, and don't report it, then you are almost as disgusting as the sender. It would look very bad if it is reported by someone else and it comes out later on that you were a recipient and did not report it as well.
    LostCauseCCRN, Old.Timer, VykingRN, and 7 others like this.
  3. 13
    I am praying that this is a school question. My mind is reeling that ANYONE, let alone a medical professional, would think this is acceptable, or funny by any stretch of the imagination. I am just sitting here shaking my head.....unbelievable.

    Of course this is a HIPAA violation . Identifiers are not only a patient's name. If they can be identified by the picture (you know who is in the picture) that is a violation of HIPAA. Now, you also get into criminal charges for invasion of privacy and taking/sending pictures of a minor. Whether or not they are a felony depends on your particular state. NO Nursing Board would condone this behavior and falls under unprofessional conduct by the very least. My brain is still reeling that anyone would think this is a good idea......but then to poke fun? How old are they 2 ? Jeeze.....

    Every nursing board deals with mandated reporting differently and the requirement of the nurses to report. But many do include the "failure to report" that when proven ............is a punishable offense. Not to mention that they are in possession of a child's picture, taken with out parental consent that is able to be considered possession of child pornography.

    All that aside, whomever receives these picture is morally obligated to report this individual. HIPAA is controlled by the branch of our government called The Department of Health and Human Services. Health Information Privacy and to file a complaint...How To File a Complaint.

    If that was my employee and I found out? They would be immediately fired. They would be reported to the BON. I would report it to the government personally. ANYONE in the profession knows this is WAY wrong and how others have been fired, had their licenses revoked or suspended and have been repeatedly warned what NOT to do, so if they do it they should not be suprised at suffering the consequences.

    If that was my child....... they would live to regret that decision. I would see them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and then some.

    ps. Boston.......I'm sorry for your loss...
    LostCauseCCRN, RN2LuvU, KaroSnowQueen, and 10 others like this.
  4. 7
    HIPAA violation 100%!!

    As far as the 180 days go, the nurse who sent the picture can not get in trouble by the Dept of Health and Human Service after 180 days after the picture was sent, however; there is NO TIME LIMIT with the BON. I am going through the same thing right now. When I delievered my daughter in Nov 2011 a coworker (also a nurse) violated my and my daughters HIPAA rights and I had to make sure to have my paperwork for the Dept of Health and Human services sent before the 180 days were up.

    At the very least, the nurse should lose her job!
    RN2LuvU, mizfradd, sharpeimom, and 4 others like this.
  5. 5
    I don't think the OP was referring to getting in trouble for reporting it. She said that if you are sent the picture, don't report it, and someone later finds out you knew about it, can you get in trouble?

    OP, the answer is yes. If you know that someone is doing illegal or unethical activities against hospital policy and do not report it then you can get in trouble. It doesn't mean that there has to be a law that says you must report it. If your workplace finds that you have done something to compromise the integrity of the facility (including not reporting illegal actions) then you can be disciplined, fired, etc. at their discretion. It doesn't mean you will go to jail or lose your license, but there are certainly consequences.

    Yes, it is a HIPAA violation. HIPAA requires patient consent for the release of identifiable information, including patient photography beyond the purposes of billing and treatment. Patient Photography, Videotaping, and Other Imaging (Updated)
    LostCauseCCRN, mizfradd, GrnTea, and 2 others like this.
  6. 5
    We have a duty o report. Your friend can mitigate any potential damage by reporting what she's received/knows now. They may be lenient if she admits her fear in reporting up front. If her hospital has a semi-anonymous corporate compliance line she should call to report and for advice. Just like a facility might not face fines or repercussions for reporting & attempting to remediate a situation, your friend may have the same protections. (I'm not a legal expert on HIPAA )
  7. 13
    I said it on another thread, and it's appropriate here too.

    "When it comes to children, it get's personal to the Nurse real quick!" A healthy child is fragile enough in our care. I think of the parents running into the ER. .

    and handing YOU their baby, with all the blind trust in the world. They "hand" you their baby, and thus put his/her life in OUR hands. I want to keep those hands clean, reliable, and dependable. Those hands should be a safe place to rest. Those hands should be protectors. They should only show the way to health and wellness. They should guide relentlessly to the path of safety, and security. They should be used to ease pain, and encourage comfort. They should always be trustworthy.

    I think there is so many things one can "Recover" from. But, Hands that are so quick to do "Intentional" and "Premeditated" harm without remorse; I don't see how a suspension or placement on probation could rehabilitate an Adult Caregiver.

    I swear I would feel the same if my friend or family member was guilty of this. It would hopefully be their last time to be guilty of such an HEINOUS event!

    Sorry, I am really trying to wrap my head around this.
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Apr 2, '12 : Reason: grammar
  8. 3
    My cousin has Downs Syndrome. THIS MAKES ME SICK! If anyone of her caregivers took pictures or made fun of her you better bet they wouldn't be getting away with it! I would hope this person that you are trying to help do the "right" thing will understand that these sweet trusting little beings didn't ask for the life they live, they live this life everyday without complaint. Tell them that this is monsterous they need to remove themselves from this immediately and alert the appropriate authorities to handle this situation. We are nurses are to advocate for these innocent souls. THEY NEED PROTECTION as caregivers we are supposed to be honorable and understand and loving. Ok, enough from me.
    Last edit by LindseyRN86 on Apr 2, '12 : Reason: Add more content
  9. 4
    I'm speechless. I can't believe a real person would do such a thing. Unfortunately
    I don't believe the OP was just asking a homework question.
  10. 11
    op, if you're still reading, the person to report this to is the facility risk manager. s/he will take it from there. his/her job is involved with decreasing the facility's legal liability and risk for damages; this is a biggie, they're gonna have to pay, they'll settle in a heartbeat, and the people involved in the action and the cover-up will swing for it.

    you can be anonymous, but the longer you wait to do the right thing, the more they're gonna wonder why you did. do the right thing, do the right thing, do the right thing now.

    oh, and in answer to your original question? major a-b-c-d-e-f-ing bad decision because of its hipaa component. unbelievable.
    LostCauseCCRN, mom4josh, GHGoonette, and 8 others like this.


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