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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5766
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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A family member of the medical profession

Customer Question

A family member of the medical profession advised another family member to go to the emergency room. A worker who was also family overheard the patient say they were sent to the emergency room by the medical professional. They called that medical professional to let them know that family member was there in the facility. Did not discuss the persons condition or anything just that they were "here" did not even say where, and now that worker may be fired for a hipaa violation. Is this a hipaa violation just advising someone who already knew the patient was on their way, that they were there?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
Welcome. My name is Maverick. I very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from the information or assistance that I provide.
This appears to be a case of first impression as I am not finding any law that indicates whether the courts would treat this type of disclosure as an exception under HIPAA. At the link below, you will find a number of exceptions to the HIPAA privacy rules:
http://www.goer.ny.gov/Training_development/Resources/hipaa/helpFiles/PermittedUsesandDisclosures.htm
Notice that your situation is not discussed there. My professional opinion on this, however, is that there is a potential violation here for two reasons:
1. Disclosure first required the patient's consent, and
2. You could imagine a situation where a patient might have changed his/her mind on the way to the ER about what they did or did not want the family medical professional to know about their decision to actually visit the ER.
I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but I am assuming that you are paying for an honest and professional answer. But, I agree that this is not grounds to be terminated; but rather for more education on HIPAA.
Please assign a feedback rating so JA will compensate me for my time. You are free to ask follow-up questions thereafter at no charge. Please allow up to 24 hours for a follow-up response if I am signed off.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. Best wishes for 2015!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just didn't receive the answer in the original time stated and so I canceled my member ship before hand and still received the answer even though I did cancel it so I appreciate your time but did not need it any longer sorry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please contact JA or whoever that is to make sure my refund is credited bcuz I did not need it any longer
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
Okay, will do...

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