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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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I was involved in a severe car accident. My son was called

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I was involved in a severe car accident. My son was called and I spoke with him briefly. I am an employee at the hospital. On his way out he went to my dept. and told people I was in the trauma center and would not be back to work. At one point I woke up to find the director of my dept. in the trauma room. I asked him "What are you doing here?" He responded "There has been so many people talking about you and asking questions about you I figured I would come down here and find out for myself." I filed a complaint with patient privacy and was told that my son's announcement justified his actions. I have read that there is NO implied consent with HIPPA. The director of my dept. has no clinical background and I believe needed my signed written consent to access my health info.
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of the facts you've described. It would be most helpful if you could clarify: how did your department director access your health information from the hospital?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He entered the trauma room and was engaged in conversation with the doctor

Thank you. And, here's the important point: what medical information about your condition did the doctor disclose to the director?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That I can not tell you as I had worked the overnight shift and received one heck of a bang to my head. After asking him wht he was there I lost consciousness

Thank you. Your question raises different issues and I will do my best to distinguish them.

As a general matter, the patient privacy protections of HIPAA only restrict what medical information your medical treater can disclose about you.

Because your son was not your medical treater, your son had no legal obligation to keep information about your condition confidential. You son could tell anyone he wanted. Your son's actions do not violate the law.

Your medical director did not violate any law by following up to verify the information received from your son. It is no different than an employer calling to verify the validity of a doctor's note. It is completely legal for an employer to do that. No written consent was needed to enter the trauma room. The law does not require that.

Where the HIPAA law comes into play is that it restricts what information your medical treaters can disclose. If your treating doctor disclosed information without your consent or if your medical director went into the computers and accessed your medical information without your consent, that would be a violation of HIPAA. If that happened, then you could file a complaint with the hospital's HIPAA compliance officer.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
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