I am a current nursing student. I was approached and suspended from school today. I was told I violated HIPAA because of a facebook page post. It said exactly "I was excited about a clinical site because I got to see mggotts in a person's wound. Love Vibra." So I am being told by the Executive Director of the school that I violated HIPAA. I said no patients name or where the wound was located. The facility has multiple locations and I did not specify which one I was at. The school asked my to delete the post, which I did as soon as I got home. I need to know if this a violation of HIPAA. I thought HIPAA only covered Healthcare Providers and Health Plans. I am neither one!! They say I signed paperwork in the very beginning stating I realize that if I violate Hipaa that is grounds from immediate termination from the program. Do you consider this a Hippa violation?
I don't know where to go from here.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am so sorry to hear that you were terminated from your program due to an alleged HIPAA violation.Hospitals take compliance with HIPAA very seriously because violations can expose them to civil penalties and in cases where the violation is malicious or for financial gain, criminal prosecution.While the alleged violation you describe certainly would not implicate criminal consequences, it arguably would constitute a violation of HIPAA. HIPAA imposes obligations upon medical treatment facilities and their agents/employees (and an individual in your circumstance would be one) to limit the disclosure of "personally-identifiable health information" to the facilitation of treatment, payment, or other health care operations, absent a patient's express written authorization.Personally identifiable information is any information that can be used to identify, contact, or locate an individual, either alone or combined with other easily accessible sources. It includes information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial and employment information.Given the specificity with which this condition was described and its uniqueness, the information would arguably be "personally identifiable." So to answer your question directly, the conduct you describe may unfortunately constitute a HIPAA violation, and even though termination from your program for such conduct is an extremely severe and unfair punishment, it would typically be permissible pursuant to the agreement signed upon commencement of the program.I am very sorry to deliver this news to you, as I realize this is not what you were hoping to hear. Nonetheless, I do sincerely XXXXX XXXXX the information I have provided is helpful and I encourage you to contact me with any followup questions that you may have.Finally, none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Attorney with significant experience in education law.
Relist: Other.2nd opinion
Thank you for your post. A different expert here. I have given formal speaking engagements to future medical assistants, nurses, phlebotomists, and medical billers specifically pertaining to HIPAA limitations, violations, and statements.I am afraid I will have to concur with the previous expert. If you simply stated that you are off to view wounds, that is considered general enough that it would likely not be considered a HIPAA violation, but because you described the manner of wound and injury (maggots), which is a very specific type of injury, that can be considered a HIPAA violation since that manner of injury is very rare, and therefore that type of person is "personally identifiable". To answer your question about the documentation that you signed, I am afraid that if you are taking clinical classes, you are by extension liable under HIPAA and can therefore be removed. I am sorry but I concur with the prior expert and ask that you consider rating his work.Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41075.1121923958
Experienced Education Law Attorney
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