My HIPAA mistake. - page 2

by somenurse 9,004 Views | 38 Comments

I have done a HIPAA violation, and looking back on it, i can't believe i did this. As an older nurse, it has not been the easiest of things for me to reform my previously sloppy (by today's standards) ways of patient protection.... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from Ntheboat2



    I just can't imagine anyone with any sense writing you up for something that obviously the patient was okay with. I don't need anyone to explain HIPAA to me either because I know it and understand it, but what the heck....what if you had said, "T wanted me to let my husband know?"

    YES, I SHOULD HAVE thought of that, THAT would have worked. I was not quick enough on my feet when confronted with this HIPAA violation. Lol, oh my, later, after i had gathered my thoughts,
    oh yeah, several options came to me, that would have saved me.

    but, i guess i was caught off guard, just admitted it straight out, cuz, it was true. but, with only a small tweak, i could dodged the whole gunfire.

    btw, the paperwork was all formally written up, when i was presented with the complaint. It wasn't like, they pulled my aside, and questioned me prior to writing it all up, nope. It was a done deal. I had no idea it was coming. In my shock, I didn't think of anything clever to say.

    btw, it might just be a trick of my memory, hee hee, but, it seems i recall, it was several pages of paperwork involved. My mind wants to remember a giant file of massive amounts of paperwork, but, i imagine, that is a trick of my memory being impacted by emotion,
    and it was probably only a few pages, not a "catalog" sized file!!
  2. 0
    also,
    my impression is,
    once someone has filed a formal, written HIPAA complaint,
    you respond to it,
    but,
    no matter what you say,
    that complaint stays in your file.



    NOw, i could be wrong on that,
    perhaps,
    if the nurse's response proves she did NOT commit a HIPAA violation (not the case with me, but, maybe for someone else)
    then, the employer throws out and shreds up the complaint? it'd disappear, if the employer decided no HIPAA violation occured?


    but, my impression is,
    that even if the nurse's rebuttal or reply, proves she did not commit a HIPAA violation,
    that complaint still stays on file, along with the nurse's reply, to be read and decided, and maybe re-decided, over and over,
    and reviewed each time someone with that file wants to try to figure out, if this was,
    or was not,
    a hipaa violation. (i could be wrong on this, though, not sure)
    Last edit by somenurse on Nov 30, '12
  3. 0
    Quote from nursel56
    Did your guy already know that T was having the surgery and had agreed to check on him? I'm having a hard time seeing the HIPAA violation, too. I think the other nurse had an overly "gotcha" attitude under the circumstances.

    It does bring home the point though, that we need to be hyper-vigilant at all times and not assume people will behave according to the rules of common sense. Sorry that happened to you!


    after i have thought about the details more, now i recall,
    (duh, sorry i didn't point this out earlier, sorry everyone)
    was
    that it was quite clear, by overhearing my conversations with "T"----a patient in our facility-----
    THAT I HAD SPOKEN ABOUT "T" ON MY CELL PHONE TO MY GUY while on my lunch break.


    THAT was big wrong thing.
  4. 9
    What I hate the most is this need by other nurses to turn on their own instead of taking them aside and gently letting them know sl they don't do it in the future. It is one os the things I despise actually.
  5. 3
    Quote from Jean Marie46514
    Actually, "T" was not my patient, i was restocking, and as i was refilling all the drawers in his area, we chatted. He was the patient of the charge nurse who reported me.


    It has crossed my mind, if i was sometimes seen as an unwanted as an employee, as i myself am not "likable" by everyone. Some yes, some no. You know how maybe the bulk of nurses, no one really notices or has a strong feeling about, one way or the other, well, i'm not one of those nurses, i don't think. I think ppl who like me, really like me, but those who don't like me, really don't like me! It's usually not a lot, just a few who i sense do not like me, but, they always seem to be among the most powerful or influential of the unit nurses. darn!
    (worth noting, i DO try to be likable, i bet most of us do, but, i seem to fall short of being liked by All, despite my best efforts)

    But, my age might be yet another factor that puts me in the less desirable employee list. Who wants to pay retirement pay? Older nurses also jack up the insurance rates for the whole place.
    and yes, older nurses tend to be getting more weeks paid time off per year, more accrued benefits, more pay per hour, and are, generally, more expensive employees. It's not impossible, that my being older, is yet one more factor working against me.

    The Commuter had an interesting blog (one can read it if you go to The Commuter's page, is link called "My Blogs")
    that i read recently, about how a nurse's "likeability" factor, can sometimes impact how long the nurse is kept on as am employee. I think how "likable" a nurse is, also might influence how that nurse is treated, too, but, who knows.
    I'm the same exact way. People either really like me or they REALLY don't!

    My old boss even told me that she went around asking my co-workers what they thought about me. She said, "They either thought you were just wonderful and the best thing since sliced bread....or they really didn't care so much for you." She also told me that a few people said, "I wasn't sure what to think of her at first, but I really like her now."

    I've had friends tell me the same thing. They say I'm "hard to read" whatever that means. I think partly because I have a sarcastic sense of humor which a lot of people don't even get. Another reason is because I'm capable of completely disagreeing with other's opinions on things (like abortion, gay marriage, and other things people get heated about) but still loving them as a person/friend.

    During this past election season, I found out that some people can't do that. I had several people stop interacting with me on facebook or just unfriend me completely just because I had posted a couple of political jokes. That's INSANE!
    somenurse, tnmarie, and cp1024 like this.
  6. 2
    Thank you for this story and reminder of how hard HIPAA can bite you!

    I work in the ER and I had the grandfather of one of my son's best friends as a patient one night. He knows me, knows my son, knows his grandson is at my house frequently etc. It was soooo weird to go home and NOT say anything to my son! It took a lot of effort! And my son never said anything in the next few months like "Oh Malik told me you were his grandpa's nurse," or something like that so I was glad I never said anything because maybe the kid didn't know his grandpa was in the hospital. But it was definitely unnatural. HIPAA can really catch you unaware.

    I hope this doesn't hinder your career. I agree with other posters - why wouldn't you just take your colleague aside and say something? I am amazed at the "gotcha" attitude of certain nurses.
    Last edit by Armygirl7 on Nov 30, '12 : Reason: word choice
    somenurse and tnmarie like this.
  7. 2
    I'm still not convinced this was a HIPAA violation. T already spoke to your guy about the upcoming surgery, and basically made his wishes known he wanted him involved. You calling on your lunch break does not break HIPAA. You could have gone somewhere private to make that call. They don't know. His privacy could very well have remained intact. There is such a lack of understanding about HIPAA. It's not even funny. When I did inter facility transports as an EMt nurses would pull the HIPAA card and refused to give us an HandP. Kept claiming that if they told us what was wrong with said patient they would be in violation of HIPAA, well not. You refusing to give me a report on a patient who is now to be in y care is technically abandonment. You cannot release them without transferring care. In that you must give a report, or I can't properly care for said patient.
    somenurse and blondy2061h like this.
  8. 1
    Couldn't T just call your manager and tell her that he had previously told your boyfriend about the surgery and asked you to call him and update him?
    somenurse likes this.
  9. 2
    I would ask your chief privacy offer, if it was a true Violation this needs to be reported to the federal government. I think you made a small error in judgement not a violation.
    somenurse and psu_213 like this.
  10. 2
    @armygirl7- I'm right there with you. I have taken care on my brother's MIL a couple of times for minor surgery. It makes for a weird Xmas eve when we go over there because I know, she knows and her DH know, but I have no idea who else knows. Does my brother know? Does she keep it from her daughter? Arg.
    Armygirl7 and somenurse like this.


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