HIPAA violation?

Nurses General Nursing


this past friday, i had a severe migraine (nausea, vomiting, something "popped" in my head = my usual migraine). my insurance does not cover shots in the physician's office, but it does cover a much more expensive trip to the ed. *shaking head in disbelief* however, i did not want to go to the ed, because i was there about a week ago with the same thing. (can you tell it is finals time? *lol*). i called my doc to get a shot in his office, and i would pay out of pocket for it. the nurse said sure & to come on in. my father drove me over. then, we found out my doc does not have the med i need, and my only option is to go over to the er. i cried (i was already in tears from the pain) & begged not to go, because i knew what they would think. the doc & nurse said to scr*w what they think. you are in pain & vomiting. you need the medication now.

to make a long story somewhat shorter, my dad took me to the ed. after going through triage, filling out/signing insurance forms and vomiting 3 times in an emesis basin in the middle of the waiting room, they took me back to fast-track. i didn't care that i was vomiting in the middle of the waiting room at that point. i was in too much pain.

per my father, the doc & the nurse pulled him out in the hall to discuss the medication that i was taking & the fact that i was just there a week ago. they felt they needed to let someone know that this medication is highly addictive. excuse me, but can you say, "hipaa violation!" they should not be discussing my care and history at that hospital with anyone else. my father didn't tell me until we got to his home. one might say that i was incapicitated, but i was able to sign for my insurance & privacy rights. at that time, i had not yet received any meds from them. they had absolutely no right to discuss my information with my dad! i was absolutely livid! :( :eek:

my question for y'all is: do i have a right to be upset? one of my classmates said i need to call the director of the hospital & tell them what happened. i think someone should know that they severely violated hipaa. what do y'all think?


Specializes in Critical Care.

Definetly a violation!:o

There should be a hippa compliance officer at the hospital you can call.

I think I would discuss it with your docter first, he/she may make a call for you.

What med are you going for ER for? Perhaps you could get a script for 1 or 2 doses at a time and have a family member learn how to give it.

Good luck.


Don't call. WRITE. And keep a copy. If I were a hosp. exec I would want to know about this to snip it in the bud!

Specializes in Clinical Risk Management.

Since you are of age & were conscious at the time, yes this is indeed a HIPPA violation. Definitely inform the hospital's HIPPA compliance officer in writing.

I am amazed, though, at the numerous HIPPA violations that I've been witnessing at private physician's offices (not pointing any fingers, just what I'm noticing in my neck of the woods). Interesting.

Specializes in ER CCU MICU SICU LTC/SNF.
One might say that I was incapicitated, but I was able to sign for my insurance & privacy rights.

In this case, the entity assumed you were incapacitated, hence their actions. You have to disprove their assumption otherwise.

45 CFR 164.510 (b)

(3) Limited uses and disclosures when the individual is not present.[11] If the individual is not present, or the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure cannot practicably be provided because of the individual's incapacity or an emergency circumstance, the covered entity may, in the exercise of professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in the best interests of the individual and, if so, disclose only the protected health information that is directly relevant to the person's involvement with the individual's health care.



I do not intend to debate this matter but simply to point out what we think is obvious is actually engulfed with a lot of mumbojumbo.

HIPAA ain't worth precipitating another migraine. Feel better!:)

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

Although pulling your father out in the hall for their disclosure was wrong, and in fact they should have asked you if it was ok to discuss the side effects etc of the medication with the person who would be responsible for you after you were given the medication, i think Talino is right.

You can report it, it may or may not be investigated, but are you willing to go through the red tape you might have to go through to pursue?

I totally sympathize with your headache problem, i suffer from those nauseating, vomiting, light sensitive, cant think straight or see straight, horrid headaches too.

It's no fun, I hope the frequency of your headaches slowdown.

Is there some type of hippa policy for employees? Our D.O.N. talks to staff members about people on our staff. She has told one LPN about another LPN and told her to keep an eye on her. (She had held down one of the resident's hands when she was trying to give them their meds because they were trying to grab the spoon.) And it's really obvious that the D.O.N. doesn't like this particular LPN because when she confronted her about holding down the persons hands, she did it at the front of the building right in the middle of everything and yelled at her for 5-10 minutes. Her office is only about 15 feet away, she could have very easily taken her there, shut the door and discussed it that way. At this same meeting she was telling us about 5 new people she had hired. She had these sheets that had their names, information, wages, etc. on them. She was holding them up in front of us and talking about each of them. So of course we new exactly what the new people were making. One of them was a med aide and was going to start at only $1 less than me. She also had these papers at a meeting with the team leaders at our facility. (They are med aides with a "special title" and are supposed to take care of the little stuff that is not necessarily something the LPN's have to deal with. So they also knew what the new people were making. I wouldn't want everyone in the buliding to know what I was starting out at if I was a new person. Especially the girl that was making over $10 an hour and making more than most of the other staff!

One time a med aide left the door on the narc box open because an LPN had run off with the keys. The D.O.N. of course came back and found the door open, chewed out the med aide and proceeded to go up to the office area and tell about 5 staff members what the med aide had done, and then said, "Duh!" about that staff member. She has told us LPN's about a new hire one time and that she had a criminal record for stealing. She had taken some of her boyfriends stuff, or whatever, but she told us just "in case" we happen to notice things missing, although she didn't think it would really happen. One day we had an LPN and RN meeting. She told us about one of the RN's that wasn't there and that she was on probation and that she had hired another RN to train, and then she said, "May the best girl win."

When her and our administrator were discussing the wage increases, she never shut her office door. There is a resident room directly across the hall and staff is constantly walking by. I had one of the aides tell me what my new wage was. I was just a new LPN and my 90 day probation period was over. It wouldn't be that big of a deal, but her mother is also an LPN, and I new the minute she got home she would call her and tell her what I was making.

It is very uncomfortable for the staff members when she is talking about other people because it's stuff that really doesn't have anything to do with how we do our job. Plus, it's totally inappropriate. It makes you wonder what she says about you behind your back when you are not there. I know that if I ever had any personal things I needed to discuss with her that I wouldn't be able to because she would blab it to everyone else.

Thanks for letting me vent!:)

If you hadn't recieve any medication and were of your full capacities, that was a definate HIPAA violation. You sould definately report that to the administration if for nothing else, but to scare them into being more careful next time!

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