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A family member of the medical profession

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advised another family member to...
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: 3 years ago.Category: Legal
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
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5/28/2015
Lawyer: Maverick, Attorney replied 3 years ago
Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6,657
Experience: 20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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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.
If, for some reason, you are not satisfied with the answer, I would appreciate knowing why so that I can try to clear up any misunderstanding that may have taken place. Also, if you need a refund, just let me know and I will inform JA on your behalf. Finally, you may request me in the future by beginning the question with "THIS IS FOR MAVERICK".
Thank you for using Just Answer. Best wishes for 2015!
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Customer reply replied 3 years 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 reply replied 3 years ago
Please contact JA or whoever that is to make sure my refund is credited bcuz I did not need it any longer
Lawyer: Maverick, Attorney replied 3 years ago
Okay, will do...
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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