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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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HIIPPA Violation in the US Army

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I'm a MAJ in the US Army ( Army Nurse Corp) and I'm currently filing a formal IG complaint via Medical Command (MEDCOM) against two of my senior officers / leaders for mistreatment, harassment, etc. And just recently after requesting and reviewing my yearly patient disclosure of encounters/medical records, ive noted that one of these officers who happens to be a Pediatrician has accessed my medical records without my knowledge, as we've never had a patient / provider relationship. This to me is without a doubt a violation of my privacy/rights and aside from initiating an investigation with assistance
from outside of the medical treatment facility due to his high ranking position, are there any other options that i have to ensure that he never does this again?

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Are you asking about a lawsuit or other options in the civilian system or are you asking about options within the military?

Customer: i would like to know what are options for both military and civilian
Dwayne B. :

I can discuss the civilian options but any question dealing with military law has to be opened as a separate question in that category. Would you like for me to discuss the civilian issues?

Customer: Yes that would be great
Dwayne B. :

Great. As you already know, HIPAA is the federal law covering privacy of medical records among other things.

Customer: Yes
Dwayne B. :

However, the courts have been extremely conservative on remedies under HIPAA. They have specifically stated that the law does not allow for a private citizen to bring a lawsuit for HIPAA violations.

Dwayne B. :

However, you can do a couple of other things.

Dwayne B. :

First, you can contact the Attorney General for the state or the Justice Department if it is on a military base and ask them to pursue a lawsuit for the violation.

Dwayne B. :

Realistically these aren't done very often but it is an option.

Dwayne B. :

The main enforcement tool under HIPAA is a complaint made to the licensing agency who licenses the physician and the medical provider, as well as through the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dwayne B. :

Do you have any questions?

Customer: Under the second option would I be able to pursue a lawsuit as well?
Dwayne B. :

No, you could never pursue a private lawsuit yourself.

Dwayne B. :

The only way a lawsuit can be pursued is if the government does it.

Customer: If these agency deemed that he was in violation of HIPPA, would they then do it?
Dwayne B. :

They can pursue it. There is no way to force them to do so but it is certainly within their power.

Customer: So essentially he could end up with nothing happening?
Dwayne B. :

Without a lawsuit. The credentialing/licensing agencies almost always sanction them in some way.

Customer: Ok...thank you
Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome. Anything else I can answer for you?

Customer: If I could prove that there was malicious intent would that improve the chances of a lawsuit?
Dwayne B. :

No, there is still no lawsuit for a HIPAA violation. The courts have said there is no way to get there on that issue. To be honest, we were all surprised because we all thought it was going to be actionable but the courts shot it down quickly and completely.

Customer: Ok....well I will just hope that the military is not so gentle with him. Thank you.
Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome.

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work. Also, there is a special category you can select for your other question called Military Law. It has several expert but it sometimes takes a little longer to get a response in that category.

Dwayne B. :

I'll exit now to assist others.

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