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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Licensed to Practice Law
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Does disparaging information exchanged between receptionists

Customer Question

Does disparaging information exchanged between receptionists at 2 clinics regarding a patient requesting treatment and the receptionists perceived assessment of the patient's condition constitute a HIPPA violation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

VAMD, Esq. :

Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

VAMD, Esq. :

What was the purpose of the two receptionists speaking about the patient?

VAMD, Esq. :

Was the purpose related to the treatment of the patient?

Customer:

My niece was going to be seen at a new clinic for pain. She was stuck in traffic and notified clinic 1 that she would be about 10min late. She arrived within the 10 min, the receptionists told her that she was "extremely late" and that receptionists cancelled her appt. My niece has severe fibromyalgia and is trying to find a treatment option that will relieve her pain. She called the pain clinic that she usually sees (clinic 2), and then drove another 25 miles to that clinic. When she entered clinic 2 there the receptionists handed her a 'pee" cup saying that the other clinic had called and that she thought my niece had been smoking pot, which she had not. Also said that she had run out of her current pain meds too soon. Incorrect information. My niece had been given pain patches and is allergic to the adhesive, which gives her a second degree burn. Her physician had prescribed Vicadin, which only lasted until this office appointment.

Customer:

It seems the purpose of the discussion was to deny access to treatment and being seen by the physician.

VAMD, Esq. :

That may be a HIPAA violation if your niece did not authorize clinic 1 to discuss her with clinic 2

VAMD, Esq. :

There is an exception where health providers need to discuss a patient in order to provide care.

VAMD, Esq. :

But that doesn't necessarily sound like the case here.

VAMD, Esq. :

It sounds more like gossip.

VAMD, Esq. :

If she'd like to file a complaint for violating HIPAA, then she should do so with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Customer:

She did not, and I agree it seems more gossip, however, the outcome is discriminatory. Not sure that a receptionists should be a gatekeeper.

VAMD, Esq. :

She can do so by access this webpage: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/

VAMD, Esq. :

I agree.

VAMD, Esq. :

I'd file the complaint.

VAMD, Esq. :

Unfortunately, HIPAA does not allow a private right of action.

VAMD, Esq. :

In other words, your niece cannot sue.

Customer:

I will help her file the complaint.

VAMD, Esq. :

She can file the complaint, and let the Department of Health & Human Services investigate.

Customer:

You, know we are not interested in suing. What we want is treatment. Don't know how much you know about fibromyalgia, but her case has made her a disabled young adult. Any kind of pain treatment that does not follow the norm sends up red flags of fear in Dr's offices thinking that she is a drug seeker. Complicated, but thanks for the advice.

VAMD, Esq. :

I see.

VAMD, Esq. :

I'm very sorry to hear that.

VAMD, Esq. :

It must be incredibly stressful.

VAMD, Esq. :

I truly wish your niece the best of luck, and I hope that the HIPAA complaint will spur the clinics to be more careful.

Customer:

It is very ands I'm just the aunt.

VAMD, Esq. :

Thank you for using our service. Please let me know if there is anything I can do in the future.

Customer:

It's a starting place. I am going to sit with her and have her document the entire incident and see if we can get her some effective care.

Customer:

Thank you. I appreciate the information.

VAMD, Esq. :

You're quite welcome.

VAMD, Esq. :

I will pray for your niece.

VAMD, Esq. :

God bless.

Customer:

I do continually. Thanks again.

Customer:

Thanks for your help. If you have additional insight please send it to my email address, I am signing off now.

Customer:

Thanks for your help. If you have additional insight please send it to my email address. I am logging off now.

VAMD, Esq. :

You're quite welcome.

VAMD, Esq. :

Good evening, and please remember to rate the service when you get a chance.

TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9674
Experience: Licensed to Practice Law
TJ, Esq. and 15 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thanks for your follow up email. My niece and her Mom will fill out the forms for HIPPA violation. Thanks for your interest and advice.


K. Abel

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are quite welcome. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.

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