HIPAA Violation?

  1. Would it be a HIPAA violation if a LAB Company sends women (who they performed the testing on their PAP tests) a reminder postcard indicating it's time for their "Annual Well Woman Exam"? Postcard states "It's Time for Your Annual Well Woman Exam" addressed to Sue Q Smith-Jones. Then a note addressing: Dear Sue, it's time for your annual well woman exam. Please take a moment to schedule your appointment with Dr. George. Physician was not aware of this "service" from the lab reminding his patients about their exam. A side note: Postcard has ended up in the hands of people who live in the neighborhood due to the post office delivery person delivering to the wrong house.
    That is a very personal note regarding a person's health.
  2. Visit hayestm profile page

    About hayestm

    Joined: Jul '16; Posts: 6

    24 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    No - it did not reveal anything other than the person's gender. Not exactly PHI
  4. by   RiskManager
    198-May providers leave messages for patients at their homes to remind them of appointments | HHS.gov

    Sending out appointment reminders by postcard is generally not a HIPAA violation.
  5. by   JustBeachyNurse
    No. It's specifically permitted by the HIPAA privacy rule unless the patient opts out in writing
  6. by   hayestm
    Thank you for all of your answers. I do appreciate it. I would like to clarify, the reminder card was not from my physician's office, it was from the lab they used to process the results. My doctor wasn't reminding me, a lab (3rd party) was. Not sure if that matters with a HIPAA violation. I've asked if my name can be removed, but not even in writing will the remove it. Only the MD can ask for all of his patients not receive the reminder or lab results. He can't just ask for one name. I am surprised that this is not a violation of some sort, because I have read comments about patients being called while in the waiting room. I read if a staff member said "Carol Jones, lets get you ready for your well woman exam" in front of others in the waiting room is a violation compared to them just calling the name of the patient and not giving any info as to why she was there. So, it's not a violation if a postcard, with full name of patient on the card, reminding the patient of a very personal exam, is not a violation? I don't see the difference.

    I need to think on this and read more. Thank you again for your responses.
  7. by   morte
    it may not be a HIPAA violation, but it is inappropriate. in letter form, might be OK
  8. by   RiskManager
    Are You a Covered Entity? - Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    The lab is a covered entity due to processing claims/transactions electronically and as such is subject to HIPAA. The same rules for postcard or appointment notification apply to them just as it would to a physician office.
  9. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    What did you learn in nursing school?

    Quote from hayestm
    Thank you for all of your answers. I do appreciate it. I would like to clarify, the reminder card was not from my physician's office, it was from the lab they used to process the results. My doctor wasn't reminding me, a lab (3rd party) was. Not sure if that matters with a HIPAA violation. I've asked if my name can be removed, but not even in writing will the remove it. Only the MD can ask for all of his patients not receive the reminder or lab results. He can't just ask for one name. I am surprised that this is not a violation of some sort, because I have read comments about patients being called while in the waiting room. I read if a staff member said "Carol Jones, lets get you ready for your well woman exam" in front of others in the waiting room is a violation compared to them just calling the name of the patient and not giving any info as to why she was there. So, it's not a violation if a postcard, with full name of patient on the card, reminding the patient of a very personal exam, is not a violation? I don't see the difference.

    I need to think on this and read more. Thank you again for your responses.
  10. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    I see that hayest has created a new account. She is not a nurse, not a student, doesn't work in the medical field yet has plenty of opinions on how nurses should work.
  11. by   nursej22
    I can't recall ever having heard a staff member call out a reason for a patient/client visit.

    I seem to recall getting a postcard in the past from the imaging center about mammography in the past, but, hello, I have breasts. It seems obvious that a scan may be suggested.
  12. by   morte
    the only post card i ever received was from an optometrist. i would find any post card from GP or Gyn inappropriately public
  13. by   RNNPICU
    Don't see the issue. It is just a reminder, there is nothing that is identifying, your results, your past medical history. A reminder to schedule an exam is not confirming or denying a relationship. Insurance companies can send something out saying hey don't forget to schedule your yearly exam. I have received postcards in the past from my dentist and my eye doctor. I am greatful for them because I forget when they are scheduled or that I need to schedule something
  14. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    Our dentist sends postcards too: Dear Bucky, just a reminder that you're due for your dental exam and preventative cleaning. Please call us at your earliest convenience to schedule this. We look forward to seeing you!
    Gasp! Now my letter carrier knows that I have teeth that I believe in taking care of![

    QUOTE=morte;9154045]the only post card i ever received was from an optometrist. i would find any post card from GP or Gyn inappropriately public[/QUOTE]

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