Published Dec 25, 2003
I need your advice. I was injured at work....had to have surgery after a patient slammed down on my spine by passing out on me....now...I understand that my charge nurse has blabbed the fact that I had surgery to all the nurses on my unit...and told them i had to litigate to make my hospital take care of all my injuries.......am i missing something ....or is that not illegal and a blatant violation of the HIPPA law protection.I mean......unless they were caring for me why did they have a right to kinow????and I did not have surgery at my hospial......I am humiliated now....embarrased....and just confused as to why my unit manager even passed along the information to them????Is this not illegal?????
I don't know if it would fall under Hipaa or not but it has to be a breach of something. As I posted in my other question..HIPAA does not apply to L&I in the traditional sense meaning that once the injury report is filed your employer, your employrs insurance and any entity that represents them have access to any and all records concerning your injury as does legal yours or theirs. However, your charge nurse has nothing to do with getting you back to work, authing treatment or your care so it basically none of her business. The other case managers that work for my company would not be privy to my cases unless I went on leave and they looked over them for me. In other words info is on a need to know status..neither your charge nurse (unless she was helping to make sure your restrictions..if you have any , are met) should know these things and there would be NO REASON for your co workers to know. As far as the telling them you litigated, she had no right..It still might be under Hipaa since she shared information with those that had no right to it, I would check with your atty and I would make a formal complaint against her..sounds fairly unethical to me... Erin
Workers Compensation insurance does NOT fall under HIPPA guidelines, per se, in TN. Access to your medical information is supposed to be available, without consent, to your employer, W/C carrier, case manager, and any other providers directly involved in your care, only in relation to the work injury. Your info is still private and should be available only to the parties involved in your injury and care.Your supervisor may have violated your rights it seems.
The following link takes you to the TN Dept. of Labor's website; click on Hippa memo:
I would also discuss this situation with my attorney. Your employer has the right to know your medical/return to work status, but discussing your condition with fellow employees is a violation of privacy rights, IMO.
Kim W., RN, BSN, CCM
Life Care Planner
As a CCM have you had much trouble with HIPAA? I Usually just say, HIPAA doesn't apply to L&I and that is enough. Just curious if you have run up against any major roadblocks. As far as the OP, the charge nurse did violate confidentiality but it would probably be employer/ employee confidentiality. It is unfortunate that some people have to "elevate" themselves by sharing privy information. I would, personally, hold her accountable for it.
ok.....i am trying to understand.......soooo.....i get injured......i do NOT receive treatment at my hospital.....and my charge nurse finds out that I am having surgery......and they blab this info to everyone(other coworkers)....and since this is a "work" injury they are allowed to discuss my private health with my other coworkers???/I could understand my unit manager knowing....to ensure staffing was adequate......but a charge nurse?????why should they be privy to this info????I think thats outrageous.......I can understand a case manager.....my unit manager......and the risk mgmt dept........but my other coworkers?????//I am offended.
I don't think I was clear so I will try to correct that:
HIPAA does not apply to work comp in the way that it does to other pts. IE: As a WC case manager, if your file was referred to me..I can obtain medical notes, therapy notes without having you sign a consent. There is actually a blanket consent on SIF2 form which is the report of injury. If the case was being billed under your private insurance I would have no rights to it and wouldn't/ shouldn't even be assigned it.
I agree your charge nurse should have no knowledge of any of this only your hospitals work comp person and your manager since it effects her unit. The only reason I can think that the charge would be privy is if you are working with some physical restriction put in place by your MD..then it would be her responsibility to make sure those are followed. The sharing of the information with other staff, would be a breach but again, I am not sure it would be HIPAA but definately a breach of some kind..If your charge nurse did not need to know of anything work related in order to sup you then whoever told her about it would be in the wrong. As far as the litigation piece I can't see why anyone should know that other than your risk dept and again, possibly your nurse manager. I would check with your atty. and it may be that the higher ups will make it hard for you to continue esp if you have litigated..I have seen it before. Esp with union employees, they can't fire you but they can make things so difficult you will want to leave or they will figure out some way to fire you "with cause" . If it is all just hearsay and your charge never really saw any of your records then it may be difficult to go for the HIPAA violation..complicated for sure. Erin
Perhaps I was not clear.......after finding out that I was out for surgery and litigating from the NM ...then the charge nurse proceeds to tell everyone on my unit WHY I was out of work.....and that I was litigating.So......there is a clear violation of HIPPA.The other employees had NO bussiness knowing this info.It is a clear violation of HIPPA there.
File a complaint against your nurse manager, she should not have shared that information with your charge... :) Erin
By the way..your last post to me sounds somewhat hostile and I clearly suprised since I only tried to forward you the information that I have on work comp and HIPAA. The reason why I am questioning whether or not it is a HIPAA violation really has nothing to with the fact that it was a work comp case at all..If it is all hearsay information is it still a HIPAA violation? Did any of these entities actually see your medical record or speak with your MD to get their information or is it all second hand information? Is the information they are spreading even correct. IN my state the employer has the right to the claimants records..informtion can be shared with others within the company who also need to know. .
Your NM needed to know
Your charge did not
Your fellow employees did not
Therefore your NM violated confidentiality..Sounds like a bunch of gossipers. I wish you luck with return to work and I am done posting on this thread..:) Erin
One of the complaints I have dealt with is from an employee complaining of HIPPA violation when the actual information is an OSHA 300 log recordable that must be posted. OSHA information is not covered by HIPPA either. If a work group only has a few injuries a year most co-workers would be able to figure it out. Especially if only one injury is disabling.
Here is the link to the 300 log and what information is required to be recorded and posted by federal law.
In some localities there is also a practice of notifying other employees if their worker compensation reports were released due to a subpoena. I have one locality and certain attorneys who always blanket subpoena all similar records for all employees. By notifying the other employees their records have been subpoenaed it gives the uninvolved employees an opportunity to quash it.
I have seen cases in which one employee (EE-A) was litigating get access to another employees (EE-B) records due to a subpoena. EE-A later shared information about EE-B to their co-workers. There were no laws broken in this case. Thankfully we had a policy in place about sharing information perceived to be personal and could take disciplinary action on that basis.
In all localities where I practice upcoming hearings and litigation scheduled are posted by employees' name and available to the public.
Yes, HIPPA has been a pain in the A** for every CM I know; many of the physician offices refuse to believe that release of information to the CM, employer, adjuster... does not require consent from the injured worker. Our company has a copy of the Memo from the state DOL site laminated for the CMs to keep, which clearly spells out the law. Still, some just don't get it, or either they do, and just want to make our lives difficult-LOL.
Guess I have been lucky so far..I have had a couple of receptionists refer to HIPPA when I call to get OV notes but once I say this is workers comp they are cooperative..I can only think of one time where I had to "prove" it to them. KNock on wood!! Erin
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