Hi everyone. I am a new public health nurse and part of my job is to contact clients that have been referred to public health nursing. Our program is voluntary. If we are unable to contact them through phone calls we have to go locate them at their residence and leave a note/ card in a sealed envelope with their name on it at their door. I have seen other nurses just write a note in their business card requesting for the client to contact them and leave it at the door without an envelope. Usually I have the public health assistants locate clients for me. I decided to locate a client myself because I had time. I left a letter that had the public health department letterhead. The letter stated that the client has been referred to public health nursing services by her healthcare provider, I have unable to get a hold of her and requested for her to call me. I left this letter along with my business card in a sealed envelope with her name on it. The envelope also had a label from the county public health department and our address. I pushed the envelope through a crack on her screen door, so almost all of the envelope was behind the screen door. She calls me 5 days later, I missed her call, and left an angry voicemail basically saying it was very unprofessional to leave the letter like that and I should have mailed it because it had been opened by someone. I am still having a hard time contacting her after that voicemail. I just wanted to know if the contents in the letter was a violation of HIPAA. Thanks.
Jun 12, '17
Sounds like no. As long as it didn't include any medical information like a diagnosis, there was no private information revealed.
Jun 13, '17
I would think you're good, as long as you followed your agency's policy? You did leave it in a sealed envelop. You can't really help it if another person snoops through her personal (sealed) mail--if the person opened that up, who's to say they wouldn't have opened it from a mailbox?