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My question is about HIPPA violations. I am a BCBA and work…

My question is about HIPPA...
My question is about HIPPA violations. I am a BCBA and work with clients in their homes. My husband and I share a car at that moment and he has been dropping my off at work and picking me up. The last two days my employer has stated that I am in HIPPA violation becuase of our car pooling. They have told me to get another way to work or I am going to have them pulled from my case. Is this truely a HIPPA violation?
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
9/15/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17,694
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I live in Massachusetts. Not sure if that matters when researching my question

First of all, you need to know that whether or not this violates HIPAA, your employer can still think that it does and require you to find an alternative method of transportation. You see, employment is at-will in nature. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. And this even extends to faulty interpretations of the law.

Next, this would technically be a violation. Under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), PHI that is linked based on the following list of 18 identifiers must be treated with special care:

  1. Names
  2. All geographical identifiers smaller than a state, except for the initial three digits of a zip code
  3. Dates (other than year) directly related to an individual
  4. Phone numbers
  5. Fax numbers
  6. Email addresses
  7. Social Security numbers
  8. Medical record numbers
  9. Health insurance beneficiary numbers
  10. Account numbers
  11. Certificate/license numbers
  12. Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers;
  13. Device identifiers and serial numbers;
  14. Web Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)
  15. Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers
  16. Biometric identifiers, including finger, retinal and voice prints
  17. Full face photographic images and any comparable images
  18. Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code except the unique code assigned by the investigator to code the data

And as it's a disclosure of a patient address to someone who is not an employee, business associate, etc... that would be a violation. That being said, it's unlikely that it would be a violation that would ever be pursued. But regardless, as it stands now, it would be a violation, and the employer can stop this action

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Not what I wanted to hear. Thank you so much enjoy the rest of your day

My pleasure. I wish I could have given you better news, but the law is the law. And I agree that it's sometimes overly strict (to an illogical extent). I hope it clears things up anyway. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Does this also include taxi and/or Uber? Trying to figure out how to get to work while we are temporarily a one car family.

Understood. Those would likely be fine so long as you didn't disclose that you were going to a client's home for health care purposes. Does that make sense? Same thing about an address showing up on an envelope with medical information inside. The USPS doesn't know what's inside. Your husband would know the nature of the client.

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If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

ScottyMacEsq
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Satisfied Customers: 17,694
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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