Hipaa violation or not? Phone number error...

  1. Hi,
    I hope someone can give me some help on this. I am a patient that just was seen at a ob-gyn and was advised to do a D& C at the local hospital. I agreed and signed the paper so they could schedule it. I told every person in the office including the MD that my home number was not to be contacted regarding this and to use my cell phone ONLY. It was a private matter and I did not want my family getting phone calls about any of this matter. They marked down the cell phone number and crossed out my home number on several of their records. They do have EMR and the system had my home number in their from the primary care records.
    The very next day, the hospital called and my husband answered the phone. The nurse did not give him any information but the fact is that the hospital called and said it was very important that I call back so he was on alert! I was asleep and did not know until hours later. I then received a call from the same hospital nurse on my cell phone stating that the office had just now advised her to only use my cell phone. I have not called or discussed this yet with the office as I am furious. I cancelled the surgery and I will get my care elsewhere.

    Does anyone know if I can do anything regarding this situation? My reasons for not telling my family are just that, my reasons. I feel that the staff was careless and now I have to deal with the fallout and explain why the hospital is calling me. Please help!
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    About hunagirl

    Joined: Dec '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   CrunchRN
    I totally understand.

    However, I think since no personal info was revealed there is no violation.

    When multiple parties are involved in something like this the room for error is huge unfortunately.

    I do not know that you can realistically expect a better outcome elsewhere. Phone #'s are in so many places and often there is nowhere to record certain particular privacy instructions like that.
  4. by   Glycerine82
    It's not hipaa violation unless personal information was shared. I understand its frustrating but even healthcare personnel are human and make human mistakes. They didn't tell him anything and you can tell him whatever you like. Abnormal pap, yeast infection whatever you want. I'm curious why you would provide your home number if you didn't want them to contact you there? Forgive me I this reason was already stated. I would let it go, and to answer your question no there isn't anything you can do other than switch facilities.

    "No day but today"
  5. by   JZ_RN
    If you didn't want your home number called you should not have listed it at all. They revealed no personal information so they did not violate your privacy. You don't have to tell your family anything, the hospital didn't. We're not here to give legal advice.
  6. by   JZ_RN
    Besides, I think your biggest problem is that you can't discuss your health with your spouse.
  7. by   Ntheboat2
    I agree with the above. It's unfortunate, but not a violation. They could have just as easily sent a letter in the mail. Even though it would be addressed to you, it could put your husband on "high alert."

    I don't see why it's a hard issue to solve. You could say what the above poster suggested or just say it was a mix up and they didn't mean to call you? What did you have in mind by wanting to know if there's anything you can do? Anything like what?
  8. by   T-Bird78
    If no information was given then no violation happened. Next time you go ask for a new pt demographic sheet and only list your cell number and tell them your home # is disconnected.
  9. by   psu_213
    No violation.

    "High alert" does not mean anything. Calling someones home/cell number and then leaving a vague message (example "call us back at your earliest convince") is standard procedure for doctors offices. If your husband feels the need to be on "high alert" from a message like this, that is his problem, not the hospital's.
  10. by   SleeepyRN
    I truly do feel for you on this situation. However, I dont feel the staff was careless. The system was flawed, not the staff. If Im the staff member calling, I look up the number in the computer and call it. How does that make me the employee, careless. I can concede carelessness if there were a way they could have changed it in the computer, which may be possible, but thats on the people who took your request to begin with, not on the nurse who actually called. I hope you weren't angry specifically at her as I see it as she did nothing wrong. Again, I do truly feel for you. My privacy rights have been taken away from me a few times at my gynecologist's office. I only stay because the gynecologist is a very long time family friend. One example is when my mom went in to the gynecologists office for her own appointment, and they told her I, an adult, not a dependent, had a balance. My mom offered to pay for it so they told her how much it was. It was pretty expensive, indicating it was not for a regular check up. Like you said, my reasons for not wanting my mom to know of this are mine.
  11. by   SleeepyRN
    Quote from JZ_RN
    Besides, I think your biggest problem is that you can't discuss your health with your spouse.
    Judgement should be left out, please.
  12. by   psu_213
    Quote from Sirius Squint
    Judgement should be left out, please.
    Funny, I looked at this as an observation.

    Judgment: "You should be should be ashamed that you don't have a more open relationship with you staff." (not my view, just an example of a judgment)

    Observation: What JZ said.
  13. by   Meriwhen
    While they didn't exactly follow your wishes, if no PHI was shared, it wasn't a HIPAA violation.

    Also, it's not against the law for them to leave you a generic message asking you to call them back...though the "very important" part wasn't necessary. Wasn't wrong, but IMO wasn't necessary.

    Next time give your PCP only the number(s) that you wish to be contacted at...and it's perfectly OK to list your cell phone number under "Home."

    As far as what you tell your spouse/family about your healthcare, that is your concern and I do not judge. But keep in mind that if you want it to be kept from them for whatever reason, don't give your PCP a telephone number that the spouse/family could potentially answer.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Dec 12, '12

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