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HIPAA VIOLATION?

HIPAA   (21,129 Views 32 Comments)
by katie maz katie maz (New Member) New Member

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

4 Articles; 20,896 Posts; 146,331 Profile Views

No it's not. The fact that someone is or was in a hospital or other facility is not protected information. If it was you wouldn't be able to go to the front desk and ask what room so and so is in. Only their diagnosis and plan of care is protected information. Someone's death is a matter of public record.

What if she posted it before the death certificate is filed????

I'm not saying I agree.......but it could be represented that way........it is just good policy to avoid any patient information sharing at all....that way you're just safe and no worries.

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

4 Articles; 20,896 Posts; 146,331 Profile Views

In my hospital it can be, many of our patients are listed as Privacy Patients, and if you don't know the code word, without us prompting you at all, we will act like we've never heard of that patient, and that includes volunteer staff at the desk and the hospital operators.

Last year a coworker posted on Facebook that an angel went to heaven that day, no names, no dates, no initials, absolutely no other info. Well, there was a HUGE uproar by management, and basically they said even if the general public couldn't figure out what it meant, other hospital staff could, meaning other floors who may have sent us that very sick patient may now figure out that they passed, and they no longer have access to that information as they aren't caring for them. It's a sticky situation. The most I will post regarding work is a thank you shout-out to coworkers if we had a crazy night, nothing more. Best to CYA IMO.

:yeah::yeah::yeah::yeah::yeah: VERY SMART!!!!!

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FLArn has 20 years experience and specializes in Hospice, LTC, Rehab, Home Health.

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I will reserve my opinion as to whether the situation the OP put forth is or is not a HIPAA violation; what I will say is that people have gone super over the top to where saying hello in the hall to a former patient may be a violation. In this lawsuit crazy, fire-you-for-blinking-wrong society we live in today; I wouldn't post ANYTHING work related on the net.

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noahsmama specializes in pediatrics, public health.

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No it's not. The fact that someone is or was in a hospital or other facility is not protected information. If it was you wouldn't be able to go to the front desk and ask what room so and so is in. Only their diagnosis and plan of care is protected information. Someone's death is a matter of public record.

This sort of is and isn't true. The person's presence in the hospital can only be disclosed to people who ask for the pt by name, and then only if the pt has not opted out of being in the hospital's directory:

Q9: Are hospitals able to inform family members, visitors, and the clergy about individuals in the hospital?

A: Yes, the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows hospitals to tell family members, visitors, and the clergy about an individual's presence in the hospital, under the following conditions:

  1. The patient has been informed of this possible disclosure, and has not "opted out" of the hospital's directory.
  2. The family member or visitor asks for the person by name, and
  3. In the case of clergy, the individual has not objected to such a disclosure.

The Privacy Rule provides that a hospital or other covered health care provider may maintain in a directory the following information about that individual: the individual's name, location in the facility, health condition expressed in general terms, and religious affiliation. Directory information, except for religious affiliation, may be disclosed only to persons who ask for the individual by name. But a hospital may disclose all the names of, for example, Methodist patients to a Methodist minister, unless a patient has restricted such disclosure.

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839 Posts; 8,408 Profile Views

No it's not a violation, but it is bad form.

Generally, if you have to ask "Is this a good idea/is this a violation?," the answer is usually "no" and "yes" respectively.

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tokmom has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff.

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I will reserve my opinion as to whether the situation the OP put forth is or is not a HIPAA violation; what I will say is that people have gone super over the top to where saying hello in the hall to a former patient may be a violation. In this lawsuit crazy, fire-you-for-blinking-wrong society we live in today; I wouldn't post ANYTHING work related on the net.

AMEN!

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1 Article; 2,334 Posts; 18,819 Profile Views

Yes it is. If people know where she works, they only need to go as far as the local obituary to match up the initials and find out who she is.

Very stupid move.

If the obituary is published then the fact the person is dead is public knowledge rather than protected information.

I don't think it's a HIPAA violation but it also isn't terribly smart.

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akulahawkRN has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in Emergency Department.

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If a death certificate (if an obit hasn't been/won't be published) can be obtained by any member of the public at the time the posting was made, then it's bad form/no violation.

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nursel56 has 25+ years experience and specializes in peds//ambulatory care/HH-private duty.

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I agree with Esme. The question isn't so much the letter of the law, it's how your employer and the resident's friends and family may see it. I've seen people getting fired for "HIPAA violations" deemed to be so by the facility in question that I've thought it took some real pretzel thinking (twists and turns) to arrive at that conclusion! Even if it's an outside chance for trouble, I don't think it's worth the risk. So the number of people in a community will affect that to some extent.

If you change the identifying initials you should be OK. I do that here even when I'm complimenting people who might recognize themselves.

from ScottE No it's not. The fact that someone is or was in a hospital or other facility is not protected information. If it was you wouldn't be able to go to the front desk and ask what room so and so is in. Only their diagnosis and plan of care is protected information. Someone's death is a matter of public record.

In my area the fact that someone is or was in a hospital is absolutely protected information, as I was told by the HIPAA Compliance Officer of one of the hospitals here, as a result of an incident that occurred with my family. She practically wore a "please don't sue us" sign on her forehead.

Edited by nursel56

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honeykrown is a ASN, BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in family practice.

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No its not a violation of anything. We are all human beings. So i cant voice out about the death of my aunt Jacqueline Johnson (J.J) because Janet Jackson died in the hospital.

People who want to put two and two together just have a lot of time on their hands. If only people just minded their own business, the world would be a better place

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alphabetsoup specializes in LTC,med-surg,detox,cardiology,wound/ost.

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I think when you are deceased, some of your HIPAA concerns are also laid to rest. And I think being deceased becomes a bit more of a common knowledge issue after the next of kin are notified. I have yet to meet anyone who requests that we keep it a secret that their family member has passed away. If the next of kin have been notified and enough time has passed to distribute that information to family and friends then you probably could have posted the full name of the decedent. I think this is a sensitivity issue more than anything else.

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punkydoodlesRN has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Psych, OB-GYN.

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HIPAA violation? Probably not. Tacky? Yah. But that's just me.

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