InPatient Assault ~ HIPPAA ???

  1. Recently, in my facility, one pt assaulted another. The victim chose to call the local police dept, and when they arrived they asked for the information of the person that assaulted the victim. We were told that we could not give out this information b/c of HIPPAA, but I'm wondering if this is true and why? They took a statement from the victim but she could only remember a vague description of the person.

    I do realize that the person doing the assaulting has a psychiatric illness, but I'm just wondering if this is what HIPPAA was really intended for?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   rfmages
    Good question, here is a link that I found that might clear it up a little for ya.

    http://www.azhha.org/public/uploads/...enforcement%22
  4. by   Cleveland-RN
    Thanks for the link.
  5. by   njmonsterboi80
    I took at look at the document and it looks like a decent amount to remember. Would it be better to call the legal department and patient records immediately after an assault?



    Quote from rfmages
    Good question, here is a link that I found that might clear it up a little for ya.

    http://www.azhha.org/public/uploads/...enforcement%22
  6. by   Meerkat
    Is that document for all states?
  7. by   Cleveland-RN
    Quote from njmonsterboi80
    I took at look at the document and it looks like a decent amount to remember. Would it be better to call the legal department and patient records immediately after an assault?
    We actually did, but I was just looking for a little more indepth information than I could gleen from in-house counsel in the middle of the night.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    What does your risk management folks say? That is where I would start.
  9. by   NiteNurz79
    Our Risk Mgmt folks told us that there is an exemption under HIPPAA that allows us to release information to law enforcement on an individual involved in the commission of a crime (assault and battery, property damage etc.) while here as a patient. Check with your facility's Risk Manager(s).
  10. by   rn/writer
    HIPAA is not meant to be a shield for illegal acts. Those who commit violence cannot expect to remain hidden by patient confidentiality. Their criminal behavior opens them up to scrutiny.

    Do talk to Risk Management and find out policy and procedure for the correct handling of such situations.
  11. by   Psychaprn
    Turf it to risk management-shouldn't be your problem.

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