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WALLSTREETFIGHTER
WALLSTREETFIGHTER, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 15666
Experience:  14 years experience in representing clients, current member of legalshield, legal club of america, NYSUT and UFT attorney
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My employee was hospitalized this week for high blood pressure.

Resolved Question:

My employee was hospitalized this week for high blood pressure. Her co workers/friends continued to ask about her. I specifically asked the employee on the phone what I could communicate to those asking and she told me. I wrote it down and sent out an email to those exact words. I also asked how anyone could reach this employee and she said email or phone . She filed a hipaa violation today on me today for disclosing her health data and email address. HR has discussed with me. I am confused and need guidance on how to deal with this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  WALLSTREETFIGHTER replied 1 year ago.

WALLSTREETLAW :

Hello I am a licensed attorney. I am here to help answer your questions. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification

Customer:

I am reading this page to find the response to my question

WALLSTREETLAW :

The privacy rule applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. It applies to employers only to the extent that they somehow operate in one or more of those capacities. The same standards apply to covered entities in both the public and private sectors.

WALLSTREETLAW :

Normally, an employer will only deal with covered entities, not actually be one. However, if an employer has any kind of health clinic operations available to employees, or provides a self-insured health plan for employees, or acts as the intermediary between its employees and health care providers, it will find itself handling the kind of PHI that is protected by the HIPAA privacy rule.

WALLSTREETLAW :

Your disclosure, would not be covered in most cases,

WALLSTREETLAW :

HIPPA violations are for health care providers to protect medical information,

Customer:

Have I violated Hippa by reporting to my staff and specific employee the condition of an employee in the hospital after asking her permission?

WALLSTREETLAW :

no, you are not covered under the HIPPA rules,

WALLSTREETLAW :

if her Doctor released information to you without her permission, that would be a HIPPA violation,

WALLSTREETLAW :

the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies only to "covered entities," defined as a health plan, a health care clearinghouse, or a health care provider. Importantly, the definition of "covered entities" does not include employers unless the employer is the administrator of a group health plan.

Customer:

HR wants to meet with me and this employee in the morning. Please help me by explaining in more detail how I am not liable for telling the condition of the employee and providing her email address even with permission

WALLSTREETLAW :

First you can show the HIPPA rules,

WALLSTREETLAW :

which apply only to covered entities, which you are not,

WALLSTREETLAW :

second if she gave you permission,

WALLSTREETLAW :

and only released information that was told to you by her, that should be your argument,

Customer:

It was verbal permission. But in my email distribution communication, I stated Jessica asked me to communicate.

WALLSTREETLAW :

You can look at the HIPPA laws above,

WALLSTREETLAW :

That will help you,

WALLSTREETLAW :

however, you may have violated company policy by this,

WALLSTREETLAW :

but not any HIPPA laws,

WALLSTREETLAW :

If anything she may have a privacy complaint, but if she allowed disclosure, you are fine.

Customer:

HR said I am ok with company policy. HR and my boss said I must be written up and attend Hippa school to protect the company. What is your opinion? I am 55 and a seasoned manager and I knew that I could not disclose information without the employee's permission. HR is saying it is my word to her word

WALLSTREETLAW :

You should ask them how you are a covered entity,

WALLSTREETLAW :

unless you are some health care provider, HIPPA does not apply

Customer:

Please confirm my understanding. The Key word in my defense is (covered entity) Legally I am not a covered entity?

WALLSTREETLAW :

Yes, you can look at the law, it is clear,

WALLSTREETLAW :

the HIPPA is for health care providers not employers,

WALLSTREETLAW : Are You a Covered Entity?

The Administrative Simplification standards adopted by Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) apply to any entity that is



  • a health care provider that conducts certain transactions in electronic form (called here a "covered health care provider").

  • a health care clearinghouse.

  • a health plan.


An entity that is one or more of these types of entities is referred to as a "covered entity" in the Administrative Simplification regulations.

Customer:

I am sorry to be ignorant in these matters. I am in shock and clearly with the lack of education/knowledge in your area. Therefore, I must ask yet another question to help state this information to HR. I will definitely print out the links you have provided as back up. However my concern is my ability to try to state this so an uneducated person in this area will understand. Clearly HR already wants to protect the company. HR mgr has a master's degree, yet she is convinced I have violated hippa

WALLSTREETLAW :

You can state that your review of HIPPA states it does not apply to employers,

WALLSTREETLAW :

if anything the ADA, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibits disclosure of an employees disability or medical condition without permission to others,

Customer:

OK. Have I violated ADA ?

WALLSTREETLAW :

The HIPPA laws are clear, private employers who are not cocvered entities

WALLSTREETLAW :

are not liable,

WALLSTREETLAW :

The ADA prohibits employees who have a disability to have there medical information kept private, but that is not the case here,

WALLSTREETLAW :

She did not apply fo disability and allowed you to disclose the information,

Customer:

Ok thank you. Unless you have any last advise. I will read all the links and prepare myself

WALLSTREETLAW :

You should review the HIPPA laws, and print out the sections regarding covered entities,

WALLSTREETLAW :

so you can show it to the employer.

WALLSTREETLAW :

They may not know the law,

Customer:

You have provided excellent advice. I was very scared, but I feel much more prepared now

WALLSTREETLAW :

and are trying to protect themselves, by making you take a course,

Customer:

I do not mind taking a course. I am willing to do what I can to protect the company that I love. Is the written reprimand/warning fair in this case?

WALLSTREETLAW :

It is not warranted, but at this point you have no choice but to accept it, you should state you had her permission, and the next time, you would not disclose any medical information to other employees as a policy.

WALLSTREETLAW :

Even with consent,

WALLSTREETLAW :

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Customer:

Thank you very much. I am clear

WALLSTREETLAW :

If satisfied with our service please provide us with positive feedback, thank you.

Customer:

I appreciate you and will select excellent service

WALLSTREETFIGHTER, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 15666
Experience: 14 years experience in representing clients, current member of legalshield, legal club of america, NYSUT and UFT attorney
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