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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 115452
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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HIPAA violation implications of physician patient admitted

Resolved Question:

HIPAA violation implications of physician patient admitted with respiratory arrest due to narcotic overdose; subsequently called in by chief medical officer of hospital and chief of staff and informed must refer himself to psychiatrist for treatment of drug abuse and for monitoring. Then chief of staff reports physician to state medical board which investigates and issues adverse consent order mandating five years of outpatient therapy and monitoring. Does physician have HIPAA recourse?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
No, HIPAA does not prevent the release or sharing of patient information between medical personnel for the purpose of treatment. As far as sharing the information with the medical board, this may be a violation as there was no specific need for them to know as there may have been between the medical personnel. However, HIPAA gives you no private right of action regarding the release and your only recourse would be to make a complaint to the US Department of Health and Hospitals and let them investigate the matter and take action.


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
CHIEF OF MEDICAL STAFF AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR WERE IN NO WAY INVOLVED IN TREATMENT OF THE PHYSICIAN PATIENT AND WERE NOT PRIVY TO HIS MEDICAL INFORMATION. AS HIS SELFINFLICTED INJURY WAS NOT IN ANY WAY RELATED TO HIS OWN CARE OF INPATIENTS AT THE HOSPITAL, THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR AND CHIEF OF STAFF HAD NO REASON TO ACCESS HIS CHART.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
In that instance, there may have been a HIPAA violation and there may have also been a violation of your state's privacy law. However, there if there was a duty to report such drug abuse imposed by the medical board this may not have been a violation either. BUT, I suggest making your complaint to the US Department of Health. Second, you need to examine a breach of confidentiality and invasion of privacy suit under your state law, since HIPAA does not give you any private cause of action to sue under. Unfortunately, neither of these things will impact the sanctions placed upon you by the board.
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