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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 110542
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am licensed radiographer for what approximates twenty-five

Customer Question

I am a licensed radiographer for what approximates twenty-five years now. In the year 2003 I was hospitalized at my place of employment. Due to the history of people tapping into private information in my department, while at my emergency room bedside, I asked for the hospital administrator so I could request a block on any of my medical information to thwart any co-workers violating my personal records. In short, after being released from the hospital, I requested an audit trail of anyone who had viewed my records via hospital computer access. Not only did I find out that six co-workers had illegally viewed my files, among them was the head administrator of my department. I can't tell you how violated I felt. Today I got home after work and found a letter waiting for me stating that there may have been unauthorized access to my personal information in connection with a missing unencrypted external hard drive used by an employee of my hospital institution and that an investigation is being conducted. It further states that the police have been notified. I feel like I should seek advice and see in turn if I should seek legal action....against whoever is responsible and my institution as I find these two incidents negligent and without true regard to me and my right to privacy. And just to add, I think that I may be the victim of discrimination and not being regarded as an individual with valid concerns as I am of african descent. Will you direct me on how I should proceed responsibly?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

What you describe is a HIPAA violation and also a violation of the NY confidentiality of medical records laws. Under HIPAA, there is no private cause of action or right to sue. Under HIPAA, the US Department of Health and Hospitals is the sole agency that is tasked with investigating and issuing sanctions for violations of HIPAA. Thus, you need to make a complaint with the US Department of Health regarding the improper viewing of your records without medical necessity. New York's general medical records statute (N.Y. Pub. Health L. § 18(6)) permits disclosure of general medical records to “practitioners or other personnel employed by or under contract with the facility.” This means if those who viewed the records had no legitimate medical need to view the records you would have grounds to sue them for damages you suffered for the breach of confidentiality.

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Second, under the NY con