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HIPAA scapegoat

HIPAA   (1,184 Views 17 Comments)
by inthealpine inthealpine (New Member) New Member Nurse

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

1 Follower; 11,691 Visitors; 1,297 Posts

13 hours ago, FolksBtrippin said:

Jory, I think you are missing that when an employee violates HIPAA the employer is also responsible. 

This is what I learned.

If I am wrong on this, someone correct me, but I am pretty sure employers are responsible in some way for an employee's hipaa violation. That's why they spend all that time and money educating. It's also why they discipline employees who violate.

 

They are responsible for maintaining their own policies, but no...employers don't get sued/sanctioned because one employee made the choice to go rogue.  I have never, ever seen a case where risk management sent a notification to a family because one nurse accessed a few files she wasn't supposed to. 

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

1 Follower; 11,691 Visitors; 1,297 Posts

15 hours ago, inthealpine said:

You are 100% a 'company person'.  The first sentence of the first post you accused my wife of lying.

You defended the hospital blindly in ways even they don't have the audacity to do.

You now say 'dont stir the pot' as though keeping your mouth shut takes priority over Pt care and the truth.

This was not idol curiosity, it was observation of 3 years of common practice on multiple units and RNs doing what they thought was best for patient care.  I'm so glad my wife already found a new job because those RNs left on those units are petrified of doing their jobs because of 'company persons' second guessing every minute they are on the clocked in.

 

...to those reading and interested, my wife's now ex manager is going to the head of HR to protest.  Fingers crossed this all ends soon.

Again...some people have to learn the hard way.  You are so out of touch with what HIPAA actually constitutes...it's not even worth discussing. Get a healthcare license..then you'll understand.

Good luck.  

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

4 Followers; 4 Articles; 103,199 Visitors; 8,687 Posts

Working on another floor is only part of the issue. The opening of another unit’s patient list in and of itself is enough of a violation. I can’t decide I just want to randomly take a look at the patients listed in ICU when I don’t work there just because one of them might need to come to the OR. Continuing to press the issue would not be wise. 

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

1 Follower; 11,691 Visitors; 1,297 Posts

HIPAA regulations are based on "need to know". If you don't need to know anything about that patient, right now, you don't need access to their chart.  

Telemetry nurses work as a team and they need access to any patient chart that is currently receiving telemetry.  They cannot, however, look up patient charts that are not on telemetry...HAVING ACCESS is not the same as having the right to look.

Case Managers usually have the capability of pulling up every chart of every patient in the entire hospital.  They can only access the patient charts on their assigned floor for the day and any patients they are helping with if another case manager is running behind--it doesn't give them the right to see how Joe Cool is doing on another floor.  

OR, ICU, or any other floor is notified when a patient is being transferred from the ER or from another floor. Until that happens you don't have the right to access that chart. 

Some RNs in some hospitals, also have the capability, of pulling up every patient in the hospital because any day they come in they may get pulled to work in other floors.  It doesn't mean if they are working in ICU or PCU they can constantly pull up the ER holds/admissions to see who may be coming up.  If the patient comes up, then you "need to know" about that patient, but until you have received that patient, what is going on in the ER, is frankly, none of anyone's business.

The House Supervisors have access to the full ER and the entire hospital because they are responsible for patient/staffing flow.  They need time to call in staff, etc.  

You are confusing "having access" to actually "pulling up" charts.  These are not the same thing.  HIPAA requires you have access to only the patient care areas where you MIGHT work, but HIPAA and professional standards also place a degree of trust in every healthcare professional to use HIPAA appropriately and not access charts for patients where they are not assigned or assisting another healthcare professional.

 

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kp2016 has 20 years experience.

3,227 Visitors; 235 Posts

Honestly i'm sorry this happened to your wife. I think we have gone a little crazy on the HIPAA front but sadly it is how it is:

1) Looking at the charts of any patient who is not in your care, right now, is a HIPPA violation. Checking on potential future patients or past patients even with the best of intentions is a violation. 

2) Computer access is set up by tech guys, they make mistakes. I have had to precept more than one nurse with the exact same job/ unit as me with access that has been configured totally differently to mine. Normally someone in IT gave them the wrong access, whoops it happens. Also if a nurse floats to the ER or had worked there in the past they would have a different access to your wife's potentially allowing them to see more about these patients. 

3) Your wife states all the nurses look and that many nurses can see the diagnosis without clicking "view". Right here is why your wife was fired and they weren't. Your wife viewed/ accessed the charts of patients not in her care. If the others nurses can see the chief complaint without opening the chart even though their intent was the same and they may end up with exactly the same information only one action actually breaks the rules. Is that unfair, of course it is. Is it an excuse you wife could use as a defense? I doubt it, but i'm a nurse not a lawyer.

4) I really can't see how the Whistleblower act would apply here. Your wife wasn't retaliated against for reporting an issue. She was accused of breaking a rule and after they found evidence- viewing charts of ER patients, she was fired for the violation. 

5) I've never been licensed in NY but a lot of states I have been licensed in required you to self report issues like this or at a minimum disclose them when you renew your license. I would suggest she carefully read the information on the BON website.

6) Sadly although she had accepted another position and had a letter of resignation in her pocket when all this happened, hospitals do sometimes refuse to accept resignations and choose to list the person as fired with HR. If it's legal to do so in your state is a question for a lawyer. It's also worth noting that most employers ask if you have ever been fired and a few other very broad questions about employment history and will fire you if they find out down the line you withheld information. 

I hope you find some sort of legal assistance to guide you through this. I personally would thing the getting qualified legal advice is an urgent priority right now. Best of luck.

 

 

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