Hospital worker loses job after sending tweet to governor

  1. JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A tweet to Governor Haley Barbour ended with a University Medical Center employee resigning from her job. She said she was simply using the social networking site Twitter to exercise her right to freedom of speech. UMC officials said it was a violation of privacy laws.

    Last Tuesday afternoon Governor Haley Barbour wrote this on his Twitter page, "Glad the Legislature recognizes our dire fiscal situation. Look forward to hearing their ideas on how to trim expenses."

    Less than an hour later Jennifer Carter, a former administrative assistant for UMC's nursing school, tweeted this to Governor Barbour, "Schedule regular medical exams like everyone else instead of paying UMC employees over time to do it when clinics are usually closed."

    Carter was referring to an incident she was told about by several UMC staffers three years ago. She claims the Governor came to the Pavilion on a Saturday when it is usually closed and had it specially staffed with 15-20 people all for a check up.
    http://www.wlbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=11713360
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    34 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    Hmmmm, she has a point, but it's a little late to be crabbing about it.
  4. by   CRIMSON
    She has a point BUT it was a privacy violation to reveal the information. Sometimes HIPPA works for us and sometimes it is out of hand. Either way, under current law you cannot reveal this information.
  5. by   morte
    Quote from crimson
    She has a point BUT it was a privacy violation to reveal the information. Sometimes HIPPA works for us and sometimes it is out of hand. Either way, under current law you cannot reveal this information.
    unless it was secret, that he was there, how is this a hipaa violation?
  6. by   Emergency RN
    Exactly whose HIPAA rights did she violate in her tweet? Who was she talking about? What information did she actually disclose? If you read the tweet, it did not violate HIPAA but was a valid suggestion on how to save money.

    What you don't read here, is how the Gov used his influence and the powers of his office to pressure her bosses to get rid of her for her satirical but perfectly legal (and HIPPA proof) dig at his "Privileged" used of public resources. If she did violate HIPAA in the legal sense, they would not have asked, nor encouraged her resignation; they would have terminated her on the spot. But they couldn't because they knew they didn't have the legal legs to stand on. Hence, this was never about HIPAA at all. :imbar

    Watch now; the governor in this case in probably working behind the scenes even as we speak, engineering a way to have the poor woman's nursing license revoked. The amount of sheer pettiness of people in high places (mind you, they're supposed to be our servants) is mind boggling. If anything, she should file a federal civil rights violation case against him, the hospital, and the state of Mississippi. This is frankly, a pure and simple freedom of speech matter. :angryfire
  7. by   Tweety
    Quote from morte
    unless it was secret, that he was there, how is this a hipaa violation?
    Things about patients aren't necessarily a "secret" but on a need to know basis.

    The HIPPA violation didn't start with this person's Tweet it started before, because I don't this person who tweeted was in the "needs to know" category.

    Plus, I think by the time this person got the rumor it was exaggerated. Surely 15-20 people weren't paid overtime to examine one person. Heck I doubt Mr. Obama gets that many people for his annual physical.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Emergency RN
    What you don't read here, is how the Gov used his influence and the powers of his office to pressure her bosses to get rid of her for her satirical but perfectly legal (and HIPPA proof) dig at his "Privileged" used of public resources. If she did violate HIPAA in the legal sense, they would not have asked, nor encouraged her resignation; they would have terminated her on the spot. But they couldn't because they knew they didn't have the legal legs to stand on. Hence, this was never about HIPAA at all. :imbar
    :yeahthat:
  9. by   classicdame
    just remember - the Health Care Reform Act states all congress members and the Pres/VP are exempt and will continue to receive VIP treatment free.
  10. by   EwwThat'sNasty
    I'm not familiar with tweeting (ok shoot me!) I am assuming that this is echoed to others?

    If so she would have been advised to make the statement anonymous by changing it to something like: " require government officials to schedule regular medical exams like everyone else instead of paying UMC employees over time to do it when clinics are usually closed."

    This way she is not identifying the person, for it could be one of many. It would identify the "act" without naming the person. Actually it is complex since "public" people in many states have different standards for defamation and it may be that in a resultant Court case, for instance if many people outside the clinic knew of the incident, that it would already be considered public knowledge.

    It is also complex because she may not have been privy to underlying issues. For instance a person perceives heart attack symptoms, calls the medical director and explains, and add: "no one is to know why." So it becomes a "routine physical." Leaking this type of an incident can cause many to wonder if the underlying cause was more significant.

    Good intent, clearly, but not wise phraseology.
  11. by   elkpark
    Quote from classicdame
    just remember - the Health Care Reform Act states all congress members and the Pres/VP are exempt and will continue to receive VIP treatment free.
    I've seen you make this statement recently on another thread and I'm not sure what point you're trying to make (or where you got your information -- do you have a source for this?). The President and members of Congress are covered under the same Federal employee health plan as every other Federal employee, from them to the people mopping the floors at the VA or typing at your local Social Security office. However, if you think anyone of that level/status in society is ever going to have to wait in a physician's office, get denied treatment, or any of the other vicissitudes of modern healthcare the rest of us have to put up with, regardless of what healthcare "coverage" they have or whether or not they've "exempted" themselves from one program or another, you're very naive.
  12. by   MagsMom
    I am sorry she had to or felt she had to resign. Wish she would have rephrased as an earlier post mentioned -- nevertheless, good for her! He does think a little too highly of himself!
  13. by   beachmom
    It's interesting what people have to resign for. One HIPPA violation = lost job.

    I have seen people make mistakes that killed or nearly killed people, and they don't lose their job. One surgeon at our hospital has infections in almost all his patients. He's still there.

    And one HIPPA violation can make you lose your job?

  14. by   rngolfer53
    Quote from Emergency RN;4035037

    What you don't read here, is how the Gov used his influence and the powers of his office to pressure her bosses to get rid of her for her satirical but perfectly legal [SIZE=1
    (and HIPPA proof)[/SIZE] dig at his "Privileged" used of public resources. If she did violate HIPAA in the legal sense, they would not have asked, nor encouraged her resignation; they would have terminated her on the spot. But they couldn't because they knew they didn't have the legal legs to stand on. Hence, this was never about HIPAA at all. :imbar
    Where did you read this, or what other source do you have?

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