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  1. #1
    CincyScorpio Guest

    HIPPA Rights violated - what can I do?

    What is the name of your state? OHIO

    I'm looking for a bit of guidance with regard to what I perceive to be a legal situation. Recently my HIPPA rights as a patient were violated when a hospital called my parents house and left a detailed message with my father to pass on to me, relating to an upcoming diagnostic testing appointment I had at the hospital. Although I am living with my parents until I finish my current program of study, I did not give anyone permission to relay my private medical information to anyone ever - not even a family member I reside with. The lady who called actually told my father outright that I have a CAT Scan scheduled, and the date, time and that I needed to call back b/c she couldn't find my insurance ID number.

    I take my rights to privacy as a patient very seriously, and had not informed (nor did I plan to) my family of a potential serious health-related ailment I am having. I feel it is not necessary for me to disclose my business to anyone (even family) until there is a real reason for concern. This news of my CAT Scan both shocked and upset my mom and dad, and now my mother is blaming herself for her history of smoking on my perceived health problems and is truly devastated, and I don't even know the results of my recent tests yet. BUT, this all could have been avoided if my rights were not violated.

    As far as I understand to this point, private lawsuits are not prohibited by HIPPA in the U.S. While I have heard that attorneys cannot just cite HIPPA, they CAN use the HIPPA regulations to argue that a duty of confidentiality exists between the patient and the health care provider (i.e. doctor, RN, Medical Records Manager, etc.) and that that confidentiality was in fact violated.

    Although I have never been the litigious sort nor have ever taken part in any law suit, can you tell me what my chances are of filing a successful lawsuit against the hospital for unlawful disclosure of my medical information? As I said, I and my family are very upset by this, and it was 100% avoidable if the hospital staff followed HIPPA properly.
  2. #2
    racer72 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    14,106
    HIPPA state that personal information in your medical record cannot be desiminated to others. The fact you were having a CAT scan does not violate the HIPPA laws, that is not considered personal info. If you didn't want your parents to know, you should not have given the doctor's office their phone number.
    If you feel my answer is rude, mean, snarky or in anyway not to your liking, I did my job. You don't need to tell me.

    No private messages, I do not reply to them.
  3. #3
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    4,334
    racer72 is correct in saying that you should not have given the office your parents' phone number; but if you live there, it is also your phone number.

    I posted a HIPAA site in a thread in medmal earlier today; the thread is titled 'hospital bills' and the reference will be on the second page of the thread, near the end of page two.

    On the HIPAA reference site, I think I recall that pages 4 and 16 are the pages that will apply to your situation. HIPAA was not violated or breached in any manner by their providing 'minimal' necessary information to persons acting on your behalf and authorized by your 'informal consent'.

    Certain entities (heathcare providers) are not bound by HIPAA, so if the facility is a very small practice that does its own billing and uses snail mail vs. electronic transmission of data, the office may be exempt from HIPAA.

    If you are a minor, then HIPAA allows additional expansion of 'informal consent'.

    Here's an example of HIPAA violation using your scenario and assuming it is an entity governed by HIPAA: You did not leave your parents' phone number but gave the office your cell phone number and you listed no emergency contact persons or phone numbers. The office was unable to reach you via your cell phone or leave a message via your cell phone and it is necessary that at this time, you know of the appointment time and date. The receptionist knows you and your mom and tells the appointment clerk that your mother is Jane Doe at 555-1234. The appointment clerk calls your mother and tells her that you have an appointment for a CT scan on X date at X time. Your mother asks why you are having a CT scan. The appointment clerk responds by telling her the reason that you are having a CT scan.

    HIPAA would have protected the receptionist and the appointment clerk up until such time as the appointment clerk told your mother why you are having a CT scan.

    EC
    Last edited by ellencee; 11-20-2003 at 01:20 AM.

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