Penalty for this HIPAA violation?

  1. I'm a pre-nursing student so I haven't learned much about HIPAA yet aside from research on my own personal time. I have a question about penalties for something that happened recently.

    My cousin goes to the doctor at a hospital for primary care. Her ex-boyfriend's (he is also my cousin's child's father) new girlfriend is a nurse in the same hospital, but she works in a different department. Recently, this nurse accessed my cousin's patient information. She told the ex that my cousin is a patient there and also a medicine she's prescribed regularly.

    The nurse was suspended, but that's all. She wasn't fined or anything else. I've heard stories of nurses and other healthcare professionals getting terminated just looking at other patients' files! This girl gave out a patients' information and accessed it when she did not care for this patient. Is suspension actually a normal penalty for this scenario? Is there a standard penalty or does it vary between hospitals? If there's a standard, what would it be for this?
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    About jojofutureRN

    Joined: Mar '16; Posts: 9; Likes: 2

    4 Comments

  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Employer penalties vary often s thorough investigation must take place so initial suspension is often the first step. Depending on the investigation results the nurse could be reinstated, terminated, reported to the BoN, named to HHS when alerting of a patient information breach. Monetary fines are generally assessed to institutions not individuals.

    Did the patient file a formal complaint with the HIPAA compliance officer/risk management?
  4. by   jojofutureRN
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    Employer penalties vary often s thorough investigation must take place so initial suspension is often the first step. Depending on the investigation results the nurse could be reinstated, terminated, reported to the BoN, named to HHS when alerting of a patient information breach. Monetary fines are generally assessed to institutions not individuals.

    Did the patient file a formal complaint with the HIPAA compliance officer/risk management?
    Thank you for a clearer explanation! That all makes a lot more sense now. As far as I know, the patient only notified the hospital where this happened. I don't think she filed any formal complaint.
  5. by   JustBeachyNurse
    She needs to follow facility procedure and make a formal complaint. The paperwork should information on how to contact the hipaa compliance officer. The level of discipline is a personnel matter and may or may not be divulged to the victim.
  6. by   AN Admin Team
    Off-topic posts deleted.

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