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Was this a HIPAA violation?

HIPAA   (8,226 Views 21 Comments)
by abbaking abbaking (Member) Member

abbaking specializes in Telemetry, Med-Surg, ED, Psych.

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Back in 1998, I was a teenager looking to do volunteer work at the local hospital. One of the requirements to do hospital volunteer work was to have a letter of recomendation from the high school guidance counselor/therapist.

I will read to you word for word what she had written to the director of the volunteer services department:

"________ is a good candidate for youth volunteer work. However, he has recently been diagnosed with impulsive ADHD. He will require strict supervision and structure in order to preform the duties of a youth volunteer."

I did not get the job

I think back to this alot. Was this a HIPAA violation on the part of the school guidance counselor/therapist?

Anything I can still do LEGALLY after 13 years or is it too late?

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NurseLoveJoy88 has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC.

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Do you have a copy of the letter.

At this point I would personally, let it go. This was 13 years later and they can argue why this wasn't addressed earlier.

I suppose it was a HIPAA violation. Curious on what others have the say.

I'm sure the HIPAA police officers will let you know. ;)

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AgentBeast has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing.

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The privacy rule of HIPAA didn't go into effect until 2003. Wouldn't really apply anyways. It would fall under client confidentiality rules.

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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In addition to the fact that HIPAA did not apply in 1998 ...

This was a volunteer position, right? Meaning, unpaid?

There can be no legal case, because there is no "harm" that you suffered - loss of income, etc.

Hoping you can let this go ... wishing you peace.

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merlee has 36 years experience.

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1. As earlier stated, HIPAA didn't go into effect until 2003.

2. If the person writing this recommendation wasn't going to be able to be more subtle or more positive, they shouldn't have written it.

3. I'm curious as to how you came upon a copy of the letter.

4. It probably IS the reason weren't taken on as a volunteer.

5. It's a long time ago.

What are you doing now?

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abbaking specializes in Telemetry, Med-Surg, ED, Psych.

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1. As earlier stated, HIPAA didn't go into effect until 2003.

2. If the person writing this recommendation wasn't going to be able to be more subtle or more positive, they shouldn't have written it.

3. I'm curious as to how you came upon a copy of the letter.

I was given the letter to give to the volunteer services director - I always made copies of Anything written about me, a practice i still continue to this day

4. It probably IS the reason weren't taken on as a volunteer.

Thus, The sting and stigma of mental illness - If it was cancer or any other physical condition, nobody would have said a thing.

5. It's a long time ago.

True it was a long time ago, so legally its irrelevant.

What are you doing now?

I am working now - I am very successful and I don't buy into the ADHD crap. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E on the face of this planet is mentally ill to some extent, some more than others. But I think that ADHD is a controversial and misleading diagnosis beacuse its symptoms are very vauge and non-specific. Pull out any DSM-4 and read the dignostic criteria of ADHD - Its very questionable to label fidgeting and classroom disruptions and speaking out of turn as a sign of a mental illness. Perhaps children with that diagnosis are merely responding to the power of education - that "Ah-ha!" moment most educators desire to see in young people.

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BabyLady is a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

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Back in 1998, I was a teenager looking to do volunteer work at the local hospital. One of the requirements to do hospital volunteer work was to have a letter of recomendation from the high school guidance counselor/therapist.

I will read to you word for word what she had written to the director of the volunteer services department:

"________ is a good candidate for youth volunteer work. However, he has recently been diagnosed with impulsive ADHD. He will require strict supervision and structure in order to preform the duties of a youth volunteer."

I did not get the job

I think back to this alot. Was this a HIPAA violation on the part of the school guidance counselor/therapist?

Anything I can still do LEGALLY after 13 years or is it too late?

High school counselors are not bound by HIPAA because they are not typically not licensed counselors, as in a therapist you might see. Licensed therapists ARE bound by HIPAA.

However, legally, the statute of limitations has long since run out and even if this case was current, you would not be able to collect damages because it was not a paid position, therefore, you are not "out" anything

However, what the high school counselor did was disclose a behavioral condition that was confidential to your school record...if that counselor STILL worked for the school system? Yup, I would take that ALL the way up the ladder...b/c if she did that to you, she is probably doing it to other students.

100% uncalled for and I don't blame you for being very upset. I would be furious.

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abbaking specializes in Telemetry, Med-Surg, ED, Psych.

441 Posts; 15,801 Profile Views

High school counselors are not bound by HIPAA because they are not typically not licensed counselors, as in a therapist you might see. Licensed therapists ARE bound by HIPAA.

However, legally, the statute of limitations has long since run out and even if this case was current, you would not be able to collect damages because it was not a paid position, therefore, you are not "out" anything

However, what the high school counselor did was disclose a behavioral condition that was confidential to your school record...if that counselor STILL worked for the school system? Yup, I would take that ALL the way up the ladder...b/c if she did that to you, she is probably doing it to other students.

100% uncalled for and I don't blame you for being very upset. I would be furious.

Yes, This individual is still an employee of the school district.

Its amazing when we look back on our high school years with the wisdom and experience of adulthood and still think of certain teachers and school personnel as unprofessionals.

As far as being upset, I have mostly let it go but the sting and stigma of a controversial and inappropriate disgnosis and the rejections I experienced as a result of it still bother me, although not as much as they used to.

Imagine for a moment your hopes and dreams of doing something productive and worthwhile in life. Then, to have it all thrown back at you and being disqualified due to the reputation of a disease thats existance is questionable at best. Then continue to imagine the fallout and social expectations that we place on individuals with mental illness and how we treat them like second class citizens.

Yes I am going off on a tangent, but I opened this can of worms so i have the floor.

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BeenThereDoneThat74 is a MSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics.

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I am working now - I am very successful and I don't buy into the ADHD crap. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E on the face of this planet is mentally ill to some extent, some more than others. But I think that ADHD is a controversial and misleading diagnosis beacuse its symptoms are very vauge and non-specific. Pull out any DSM-4 and read the dignostic criteria of ADHD - Its very questionable to label fidgeting and classroom disruptions and speaking out of turn as a sign of a mental illness. Perhaps children with that diagnosis are merely responding to the power of education - that "Ah-ha!" moment most educators desire to see in young people.

So are you saying the counselor diagnosed you in this letter of reference? That would bother me, I won't lie.

Now, assuming that there was a documented diagnosis, and this was after 2003, then you have to ask yourself this? Are you suffering in any way as a result of this? Granted it was a volunteer position. But lets just say you are an RN now and are applying to the same hospital and this came up, and you were not hired (because this was in your 'permanent record', then I would say you are suffering in some way. But the reality of this scenario actually happening is quite slim. So unless you have some way to prove that you have suffered in some way, for the past 13 years, my guess is you need to let it go. Knowing that you have overcome whatever it is this counselot felt you had, should be enough for you.

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Yes, let it go as others have said, still I don't blame you for being angry.

I am a successful, love my job, nurse. I have been fired from office jobs!!! Still angry at those bosses, but maybe they did me a favor, got me into nursing.

MANY very talented, successful, people with above average intelligence have been, or would have been, diagnosed with ADHD.

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ktwlpn is a LPN, RN and specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

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Our family doctor told our son that the reason why ADHD is so prevalent in the US is because most of the early settlers had it-that's why they could not get along in society in their old countries.Interesting theory.

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If this person is still working with students, then I would consider making a copy of that letter (if you have one) and sending them a note explaining how you didn't get the volunteer position and how that experience has made you feel even after all these years. I would make sure to let them know how successful you are now! And, not angry and confrontational, but honest.

Well, that's what I would do anyway... if they were still working with children. Maybe doing this may help you move on? Best of wishes to you.

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