Are non-healthcare providers bound by HIPAA?

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    I have a friend from high school that is a caregiver to a mentally handicapped adult. She is not a healthcare provider. Basically, she is a sitter when the parents are away or at work. She is constantly posting on FB about "funny" things that her client does. It just seems weird to me. I don't think this is technically a HIPAA violation, but certainly a breach of ethics? Should I say something? How can I put it delicately, if i should say something?

    Thanks for the input!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 13, '12 : Reason: spacing
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Quote from grownuprosie
    Short version:

    I have a friend from high school that is a caregiver to a mentally handicapped adult. She is not a healthcare provider. Basicly she is a sitter when the parents are away or at work. She is constantly posting on FB about "funny" things that her client does. It just seems weird to me. I don't think this is technicly a HIPAA violation, but certainly a breach of ethics? Should I say something? How can I put it delicately, if i should say something?

    Thanks for the input!
    Notify the person's parents about this evil lack of judgement. This person needs to lose her job immediately.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, GrnTea, Dixielee, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    Quote from subee
    Notify the person's parents about this evil lack of judgement. This person needs to lose her job immediately.
    Sorry, I should have specified, we are both in our mid twenties now. I just know her from HS. I think her dad would be really confused if I called him. I do appreciate your reply. If they were in healthcare, I could just call the "anonymous" HIPAA reporting line. (I think i remember being told that that exists.) Since she is not a healthcare provider, I don't know how to intervene.
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    Certainly unprofessional and unethical. Not sure if it's a violation of HIPAA, however, it most likely is if she is employed for money, or if she works under a licensed individual or company.
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    HIPAA is for healthcare providers + healthcare organizations to safeguard individual privacy. Sitters hired by families -- all private between them. Might want to educate your friend in maintaining patient privacy and boundaries as hired care giver.
  8. 0
    Quote from grownuprosie
    Sorry, I should have specified, we are both in our mid twenties now. I just know her from HS. I think her dad would be really confused if I called him. I do appreciate your reply. If they were in healthcare, I could just call the "anonymous" HIPAA reporting line. (I think i remember being told that that exists.) Since she is not a healthcare provider, I don't know how to intervene.
    I think she meant notify the parents of the person she is working for-you know, the ones who are at work while she is sitting?

    And yes HIPAA should apply to caregivers who are privy to personal information of any sort. I worked for an agency who cared for mentally handicapped people before (beforeI was an RN). I was trained as a med tech, in CPR, non-violent self-defense, and HIPAA.

    Does your friend work for a company of some sort, or is she just a person they hired to sit with their family member?
  9. 0
    Quote from NayRN
    I think she meant notify the parents of the person she is working for-you know, the ones who are at work while she is sitting?

    Does your friend work for a company of some sort, or is she just a person they hired to sit with their family member?
    Oh, I misread. sorry about that. I do not have access to the family. She is privately employed by them. No agency involved. She just does not realize that what she is doing is unethical. She is not a healthcare provider, so she never learned about privacy expectations and ethics pertaining to caregiving. Maybe I will just respond with something like, "Does their family know you post about them on FB..." I don't want to instigate an argument. I think this is a teaching opportunity because it is clearly not malicious.
  10. 1
    Quote from grownuprosie
    I have a friend from high school that is a caregiver to a mentally handicapped adult. She is not a healthcare provider. Basically, she is a sitter when the parents are away or at work. She is constantly posting on FB about "funny" things that her client does. It just seems weird to me. I don't think this is technically a HIPAA violation, but certainly a breach of ethics? Should I say something? How can I put it delicately, if i should say something?

    Thanks for the input!
    SHe is a freind from High School and she is on your Facebook why not send her a secret message and REMIND her of her need to be more discreet and that it is violation of the person's privacy. And how would she feel if some one was posting her loved ones infrailities
    bookworm78910 likes this.
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    She is a friend from High School and she is on your Facebook why not send her a secret message and REMIND her of her need to be more discreet and that it is violation of the person's privacy. And how would she feel if some one was posting her loved ones infrailities
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    She may not realize what she is doing is wrong and unethical. I would look up and print some handouts about hippa and nicely teach her. If she continues then there's a problem. Maybe you could mail a letter to the clients with snapshots of some of the things she is posting on facebook.
    grownuprosie likes this.


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