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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32324
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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I took and was approved depression and medication

Customer Question

I took and was approved for FMLA for major depression and medication management. My charge nurse divulged my diagnosis and gave updates to entire department while I was out for a month. I made it known to her that anything I shared with her was to go no further and that I am private about my information and will decide who I share information, which is no one but close friends and family. I feel violated and am mortified, I know this is a hippaa violation and she knows very well what HIPPAA is and what constitutes an infraction. further, the nurse manager is aware of the violation and has done nothing to remedy situation and says she has been counseled for speaking her opinions of other staff members out loud to entire department. She has been counseled and persists to continue behavior. No consequences seem to have been issued. Nor apologies to employees affected. Do I have a case for compensation and consequences. The manager knows about infractions and no action has been taken. Vicky
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Your question was "Do I have a case for compensation and consequences"?

As far as compensation, no, you would not "have a case". HIPAA doesn't allow for a private cause of action or allow a private citizen to file a lawsuit or recover damages. While most of us, including myself, initially believed that HIPAA would allow people to sue when their medical privacy was breached the courts quickly ruled (and continue to rule) that the law doesn't allow for that. The state Attorney Generals, and the US Department of Justice can sue and ask for damages but individuals cannot. If you require a case cite on that I can find it for you.

As to "consequences" you can file a complaint with your state's Attorney General, the civil rights section of the Department of Health and Human Services, and your state's licensing agency for nurses (https://www.ncsbn.org/filing-a-complaint.htm) and that can result in significant consequences for the nurse who disclosed the information. The consequences can be up to a revocation of her license although that would be unusual if it is her first offense.

Also, please remember that while the law may not be what you believed it was or would like for it to be, I have no control over that, all I can do is relay the correct information to you, whether it is good or bad.

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have in this thread.

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