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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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My PPA rights were violated on more than one occasion in my

Customer Question

My HIPPA rights were violated on more than one occasion in my last hospital stay. I was being treated for endocarditis, an infection on the heart. One of the many causes for this condition is IV drug use. The first time a violation occurred it was minor. Several people who came to visit me were told what my condition was and that they suspected drug use and that drugs had been found in my room (which was untrue and staff and administration from the hospital came to apologize for the "inconvenience". The second time was a much bigger deal. My sons father was one if the people who was wrongfully told about my condition and suspected cause and he in turned called CPS to make a report. When the CPS case worker called the hospital, she was able to not only find out my condition bit was told that they suspected drug use to be the cause (without any evidence to support that claim). There are many causes completely unrelated to drug use for my condition and they had no proof or right to make such a claim. Now because of that violation, I am at risk of losing custody of my son and his father was awarded temporary Emergancy custody. How can they get away with giving out such personal and private information about my medical care? Especially incorrect and damaging information!! I need answers!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
To answer directly, they generally cannot provide such information about you. It is indeed a violation, although in your case HIPAA is not the law that would really be the most useful. Here is why:
Yes, this is a violation under HIPAA, or at least appears to be, but HIPAA does not permit you to file suit for damages. Rather, you'd need to file a grievance directly via the Dept of Health and Human Services website and ask that the government investigate and then pursue. This is the limitation of HIPAA--only the federal agency can investigate, pursue, and possibly fine. But what you can do is file suit for 'invasion of privacy', specifically for 'public disclosure of private facts' if the information is true, 'false light' if true but stated in a manner to cause you injury, and also for a wholly separate action for defamation of character for any false claims and statements made against you. To pursue such action you would likely need to retain a civil attorney who has experience with libel/slander laws and with medical laws such as malpractice and administrative law.
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do I file such civil actions? I am a single mom, low income, and mounting hospital bills. How would I afford to retain an attorney? I want this violation against me to be made right!
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

To file a HIPAA violation you do not need an attorney. You can go to this site and do it yourself:

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/

To pursue them personally you'd need to learn how to file complaints by visiting your local area law library, obtaining templates, and learning how to draft documentation. You can also contact the local bar association and see if they may have pro bono or low cost options available for filing. Since this is not a high necessity claim such as criminal law, landlord/tenant, or family law, I doubt that LegalAid would help, but you can still try them and see if they may be able to assist.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.

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