Are these HIPAA violations?
1) Nurse has taken care of patient to include monitoring lab values. Next shift, patient is not assigned to her, but she wants to know how the patient did regarding lab draws occurring after her shift ended. So, she accesses the medical file to monitor the lab values, or other aspects of follow-up care. Is this a HIPAA violation?
2) In a small nursing home, the admissions clerk (not a nurse), joins in the case management meetings regarding patients. She then is able to confront a relative with a judgement regarding the patient's condition ("the patient is 150% better," versus the MD telling the closest relative that the patient should be hospiced). Is this a HIPAA violation? Are admissions clerks privileged to know the ongoing medical condition of nursing home patients? Does the original act of admitting a patient (and knowing why they are there) continue to extend the privilege throughout a stay? This has broader implications for general ward clerks in an acute care setting (you know you tell your clerk everything--she runs the unit :bowingpur)
I honestly don't know the answers, and I would appreciate some direction. Thank you.
Mar 23, '08
I also say yes to both.
In #1, it's the responsibility of the next nurse assigned to the patient to read the chart and review the lab values.
In #2, the admissions clerk is not a medical professional, is not assigned a patient (entering information is not the same thing), and confronting a relative about a decision that was made (that may or may not be a decisionmaker) is disclosing information regarding the patient, regardless of outcome.
Does your hospital not use numbers assigned to patients so that they may get information by phone? That is what the hospitals do around here. They assign a special number and whoever knows that number can get information on the patient when they call. They give the number to the person left in charge (if they patient cannot speak for themselves or the patient will give permission) and they can decide who gets the info and who doesn't.
I don't think it's reasonable to require someone to be present to get information on a loved one, especially if that person is a mother, or a child of a geriatric patient and is arranging care.
Last edit by justme1972 on Mar 23, '08