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I asked similar questions before about being in a CT state…

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Hi I asked similar questions...
Hi I asked similar questions before about being in a CT state run group home with developmentally disabled people where pictures are being taken. Now it has progressed to more then one picture, and pictures of individuals are involved. At what point would it become a hipaa violation? At what point would photos of individuals, or an individuals belongings require a guardians consent?The photos are all to prove some wrongdoing.
Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 4 hours by:
12/21/2017
Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 2 months ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,388
Experience: Employment Law Expert
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Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 2 months ago

Please allow me several minutes to read your facts and type my response both initially and when you add a follow up question or add facts. Please don't ask "are you there", etc., since when you post it can erase what I am working on. If we are having a conversation unless I tell you I am going offline, I will be here but I may be doing research.

While waiting for a response, please do not keep asking questions, such as "Are you there", etc. since that can erase whatever I am writing and also interrupts the thought process. I will be back with you as soon as I can do any research necessary, formulate a response, and type it in.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 2 months ago

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ways this could become a HIPAA violation and so, naturally, it is impossible to discuss them all.

What I can tell you that the most common ways or photos to become a HIPAA issue is for them to be placed on social media where it identifies the patient as being somehow involved with a health care provider. For instance, using your example, if someone placed the patient's picture on the group home's Facebook page and identified them a a resident, that would be a violation since it would reveal personal medical data (specifically, that the person was a resident).

Also, if the picture were taken by an employee and then showed to other people and another resident's name was visible on a plaque outside the door to their room, that would also be a HIPAA violation.

Generally, if the picture is not being used for the purposes of treatment and is shown to someone outside of the group home then it would requires a signature on a HIPAA form allowing the picture to be taken and shown.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 2 months ago

Essentially, all private health information is protected.

The following info is from a website but is an accurate, easy to understand general rule:

HIPAA defines specific types of protected health information, or PHI, and prohibits unauthorized disclosure of PHI by any healthcare professional with access to patient information. This seems simple, but the devil is in the details: PHI is broadly defined to include not just the patient’s name and address, but a wide range of information like the date of service, patient record numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, and more.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. A bonus or "tip" is, of course, appreciated but neither required nor expected. Regardless, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

Even if you are a subscriber or have a trial membership please leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so that the website knows I have answered your question.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 2 months ago

I am about to go offline for a while but will check in later.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hi I should probably clarify the question a lirtrtle more. Nothing was shared on social media, and all of them were kept within the agency, and agency management. However, it is a state run group home, and I did think that a photo of a person doing a one person lift with a resident,( it should have been two), could have still been an agency violation. I may write more when I have more time. Photos of individual in most cases require a guardians approval, and I am also still not sure if this could have been a hipaa violation.
Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago

If everyone at the home knew that the person in the picture was a patient, knew their condition, etc. then it would likely not have been a violation. There are some exceptions dealing with health care providers where if, for instance, a receptionist who was just supposed to answer phones was also looking through files, reading medical notes, etc. then the doctor got into trouble.

I think you have a pretty good understanding that posting on social media is prohibited without permission.

You're free to come back anytime and ask follow up questions.

I would ask that you go ahead and issue a 5 star rating so that the question locks open so you can come back. They normally time out within a few days and the question closes.

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