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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 34756
Experience:  16+ yrs. of legal experience.
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Could it be a PAA violation physician to disclose PHI on the

Customer Question

Could it be a HIPAA violation for a physician to disclose PHI on the prescription monograph and therefore on the label that is printed on the bottle; the disclosure being the physician wrote out the specific condition to be treated, and the alleged cause
for the condition, both of which are highly stigmatized as a matter of course? And,if so, is it true that now individuals can bring suit for disclosure of PHI against covered parties outside of, and in addition to the regulatory process?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** have over 16 years experience in the law. Should you like to chat on the phone I am happy to for a nominal cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested I am happy to give you more details.

I want to make sure I want to know if you can sue under HIPAA because the doctor listed the condition on the prescription?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
From my letter to the hospital's HIPAA compliance officer:"I consider this to be an outrageous mishandling of my PHI, and as such I am preparing a Complaint for filing with the OCR alleging a HIPAA violation. As you may be aware, individuals may now also bring a cause of action in addition to the pursuit of regulatory agency remedies. The disclosure of an alleged anxiety related condition, due to an alleged condition of alcohol withdrawal should never be disclosed in this way, nor in this or any form as was the case here, by any person or institution who is subject to HIPAA regulation."Specific to your question: Physic***** *****sted the condition and the alleged cause as to why the condition exists
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thank you
But my question was are you attempting to use the HIPAA to file a lawsuit?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I am aware that the purpose of HIPAA is not for me to "file a lawsuit"My question is: do the facts as I have presented them likely constitute a disclosure of PHI in violation of HIPAA for which I may:
1. File a complaint with the OCR alleging a HIPAA violation
2. File a lawsuit as an indivdual outside of the regulatory process.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.


Frankly speaking what you are describing is not likely a violation of the HIPAA.

It is true that the privacy rule applies to doctors and pharmacies. And so, for example, if a pharmacy was to give out protected health information to a third party (say, for example, a sister asked a doctor about the patients condition and the doctor released this information, to the sister, without patients consent? That would violate HIPAA.

And I get your placing the condition on the prescription bottle, one could argue that others can see this.

However, the bottle is given to the patient...they have the ability to secure the information in their control.

So while you can file the complaint, I suspect this is not a HIPPA violation.

As for the second question, can you sue outside HIPAA?

Not likely. The same theory applies...if the pharmacy gives the patient the prescription bottle, they have the ability to secure (protect) that information if they choose. So it is not likely a violation of any duty to the patient on the party of the pharamacy or the doctor

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you can sue to recover for this, but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
by placing the condition on the prescription bottle, one could argue that others can see this" It's not a pill bottle of concern. The product monograph is a digital product that exists ad infinitum."However, the bottle is given to the patient.(Q. by whom? A. By someone who is not entitled to my PHI), in other words, the cashier at the counter, etc..., let alone the pharmacist, neither of which should have access to this type of PHI)..they have the ability to secure the information in their control." ( I have no idea what this means).No need to respond to this. I think we're done here.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

I wish you the best of luck with this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As you missed the entire "need to know" aspect of Protected Health Information under HIPAA; I'm thinking I should, as a courtesy, skip the rating of service in this instance. However, just for kicks, lets say a prescription is written for your ohn/Jane Doe and on that script, and on the vial, and on the monograph, the physician writes out his little pad: "for treatment of an anal bleeding condition, due to objects having been inserted in the rectum" Once that prescription leaves his hand, he has no control over who sees its contents, or if those persons are persons who do who have a "need to know" that one is bleeding out his/her rectum due to inserting objects in there. The fact pattern here, and in my case is analogous. Are you going to tell me upon vigorous pursuit, I will find that there's no violation of a right to privacy under HIPAA as the result of the disclosure of PHI ?