Is it a HIPAA violation?

  1. So tonight I go into work to find out that one of our regulars was brutally murdered. It was all over the internet and the news. It was a very sad situation. Anyway I was texting a coworker and I happened to ask her if she heard what happened to so and so. She said no who is that. I said he was a regular we get up here a lot. I then told her what people were saying on the internet about the attack and stuff. She then said ok but this convo never happened between us because we could get fired. This was already all over the news and internet. The only thing I had said was he was a regular patient we get often. It was the talk of the whole hospital tonight it seemed because a lot of us knew him. I am just worried now that I could potentially get in trouble. She said not to mention the convo to anyone but I did mention to a coworker that she did not remeber him. Should I be worried?
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    About Stella_Blue, ASN, BSN, LPN

    Joined: Apr '13; Posts: 203; Likes: 173


  3. by   dishes
    Was the person murdered at your workplace? If not, than you violated their privacy as you identified them by name and that they were a patient in your facility at some point in time.
  4. by   nursel56
    First, I'm so sorry this awful thing has happened to the person you all knew so well. I feel sad just reading about it.

    To be honest, the HIPAA interpretation often isn't connected to logic, I would say, that talking about the patient when his name is all over the place is different than was he ever a patient at your facility.

    It used to be you could at least ask if a person was admitted or not. Not now. You may discussing his name within your facility, but comments about his medical record can easily slip out there as well, and visitors may hear it. Being as this will involve a criminal investigation be on the safe side and don't discuss at work whether it's the letter of the law or not.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Dec 4, '16 : Reason: format not right
  5. by   Horseshoe
    HIPAA protections remain in effect for 50 years after death. Keep that in mind.
  6. by   JustBeachyNurse
    You may have crossed the line when you revealed how you knew the program and that he was a frequent flyer.
  7. by   skitch885
    You're allowed to say you took care of them. And if she is a staff member, you are discussing a former patient.
    Last edit by skitch885 on Dec 17, '16