That’s not a HIPAA violations as far as I see it. It was gossip that got back to the person being gossiped about. I didn't read that the RN shared diagnoses, Social security numbers, addresses, or other personal data with someone who was not supposed to have that information. Especially considering it sounds like the family has some power of attorney overseeing care. The family is privy to all medical discussions (but that was smack talk, not a medical talk)
It was an overheard convo of grievances against the family. That’s not a HIPAA violation. HIPAA is the illegal sharing of pertinent private patient records/information with those not allowed to have it. Last I checked, sh** talking about the family was not listed in the HIPAA protected information.
Not saying what happened was cool, but I do not see anything illegal. Just people got busted talking smack about the patient’s family, not the patient, and the family got wind of it.
Careful where you open your mouth... the walls have ears... unless that RN was sharing patient records, SSN, insurance, diagnosis, or other medical information with outside people, I don’t see a crime. Sucks, likely not good for hospital relations, but not a criminal act.
I’m interested to see how it plays out. I doubt the RN will have any legal repercussions. He can just say he overheard you talking smack against his friends at the nursing station, and he told them. The volume of your voice is debatable and he is allowed to be there, apparently. He can also say he informed them because he was worried hostile environment would create a lack of proper care for his friend’s family, and that’s why he wanted them to know.
I think you downplayed a little those grievance words your charge used about the family, and maybe your “supportive” replies that got heard too. (I’ve been a nurse for a while)
But that’s not info about the patient, that’s info about staff not liking the family.
I assume it was a lot of very not-nice things the charge was saying (and maybe warranted, as it sounds like the family was horrible). And that smack talk got back to the family.
Unfortunately, that’s just gossip, not HIPAA, from what I’m reading here.
Now you really have to be really careful because the family can make a case for malpractice from discrimination if something goes bad with the patient. There is documented hostility between the Charge Nurse of the Unit and Staff RNs, against the patient’s family.
Gotta step up your game even more now and hope you can get out of this case without legal issues. I would lay low and not poke the bear... this all started with an inappropriate conversation.
Technically that charge should share grievances with his/her superior or HR. Or you discuss outside the hospital—not a charge RN trash-talking a family at the nurses station with the staff RNs that are caring for the patient. That looks bad for you guys.
Just try to let this just pass.
and find a new job, for crying out loud