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Thread: HIPAA Violation

  1. #1
    frustrated vet is offline Junior Member
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    Smile HIPAA Violation

    What is the name of your state? KS

    I attended group and individual therapy sessions at the local Vet Center, US Department of Veterans Affairs. In June of last year my HIPAA Rights were violated during a group session that I was not a party to. My therapist disclosed one of my psychological diagnoses to this group. I know this is a violation of the privacy law. The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civill Rights is granting me a 6 month extension on my statute of limitations since I was not made aware of what happened until the day before Thanksgiving. As far as they are concerned the violation began that day. I have a lawyer to represent me in a lawsuit against the therapist,the Vet Center, and the Team leader for the Vet Center. I am suing for damages. Is there a limitation on the amount I may sue for?
  2. #2
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    Just because the statute of limitations is allowed to begin in November 2004 does not mean you have a valid claim or that you were actually damaged or that you are entitled to any money whatsoever.

    Much depends on the services contracted, the connectivity of the two groups or the expected sharing of each group's information.

    HIPAA does not apply to every healthcare related encounter. It only applies to providers who serve a certain number (or greater number) of clients and providers who electronically bill for services.

    Your situation has far too many variables for you to be sitting around counting on an income from what you believe to be a HIPAA violation or a violation of professional ethics.

    EC
  3. #3
    purple2 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by frustrated vet
    My therapist disclosed one of my psychological diagnoses to this group.
    HIPAA is not the only privacy law. Your state may have additional laws that prohibit such disclosures. See an attorney asap.
  4. #4
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    The more I think about this thread, the more absurd it appears. Let me share with you some very obvious aspects:
    The Veteran's Administration is funded (very poorly funded) by the federal government, which means our tax dollars at work.
    HIPAA is a federal law, managed by a federally funded agent, which means our tax dollars at work, again.
    The poster is a US armed forces veteran receiving disability from the US armed forces and SSDI, which means our tax dollars, again.
    Lawyers are going to be paid from our tax dollars, earned by the vet who is our original poster.
    The lawyers are going to use our tax dollars to sue a federal tax-funded healthcare provider in hope of collecting an award for the federal tax-paid plaintiff.
    Any award gained for the federal tax-paid poster will be paid on behalf of the Veteran's Administation by our federal tax dollars.
    Not only will our tax dollars pay the attorneys and the award (if any is made) but our tax dollars will pay the HIPAA agency to investigate and fine the Veteran's Adminstration.
    Any fine levied against the Veteran's Administration will be paid with our tax dollars and will be paid to the federal government, not to the poster.
    If the Veteran's Administration has any liability insurance, our tax dollars paid for that, too; but, I doubt they have any liability insurance because the VA is a federally funded organization, not a private organization.
    The therapist (qualifications and professional duties unknown) is paid with our tax dollars and probably has about 50 cents in his or her collective savings and checking accounts. If the therapist has liability insurance, which is remotely likely, then our tax dollars paid for that, too.

    So, our tax dollars paid for the poster to arrive at therapy, paid for the therapy, paid for the building and the operating expenses that housed the therapy 'office', will pay HIPAA to investigate, will pay the attorneys to sue the VA, will pay any fine to the federal government, and the poster will collect zero because a federally paid therapist working in a VA has no money and never will.

    And, this not only makes sense to some of you but you are enthusiastic that the poster should sue. (You should ask what the poster wants the money for--you wouldn't believe it--can we say taxi service because her free ride is moving out of town?)

    This whole scenario is absurd.

    I want my tax dollars back; I didn't agree to fund madness.

    EC
  5. #5
    frustrated vet is offline Junior Member
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    HIPAA Violation

    This is directed to ellencee. I served my country for nearly 14 years. Where were you when I was providing for your freedom to post here? Did you serve in the United States Navy or any branch of the military? For that matter have you served in any community based group as a volunteer....

    Not only did I serve my country to provide for your freedoms but the right to decent health care by the VA and protection of my HIPAA rights. My years in the military have left me very disabled.

    I doubt you have ever been touched in your life by any soldier, sailor or marine. I have, we have served in every branch of the military in my family. We have served in every war since the Spanish American war. We served without question.

    If you have been watching the news at all you will see another incompetent hired by the VA killed a man with cancer by falsifying blood tests to put him in a cancer research project overseen by the VA. This is not the first time this has happened.

    The short and long of this is I am due damages by my "licensed" therapist, the team leader (a "licensed" therapist) and the Vet Center. This is on advice by a Veteran's Advocate Lawyer and my own attorney.

    My recommendation to you ellencee is until you have walked a mile in my shoes and served your country in the United States Navy as I did (as a volunteer) keep your nasty little opinions to yourself.

    And by the way not only will I get money from the federal government so will my attorney.
    Last edited by frustrated vet; 01-22-2005 at 10:10 AM.
  6. #6
    frustrated vet is offline Junior Member
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    HIPAA Violation

    To purplec. Thank you for your timely advice. I have retained an attorney. The only thing we are waiting for is the letter from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights out of Kansas City, MO granting my extension of the statute of limitations.

    Read my post to ellencee. It will tell you more about me and what branch of the military I served in.
  7. #7
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    I deleted my family's record of service because if those great men and women of service chose/choose to live quietly, I choose to honor their decisions.
    In the great scheme of things, this original poster will recover nothing as the person she chooses to sue has no money with which to pay any award.
    EC
  8. #8
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    He can sue them and the VA under the theory of :Respondeat Superior, they will have malpractice coverage. There must be more to this story that is not posted due to confidentiality but it souldn't pay for the VA advocate to suggest he sue and to actually retain an attorney to sue, it there wasn't merit to the case. IN the field of psychotherpay there are a number of causes of action that can be taken in addition to any HIPAA violations, we simply don't have the facts.

    Is your attorney taking this on contingency?
  9. #9
    frustrated vet is offline Junior Member
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    HIPAA Violation

    My attorney is taking the case under contigency. She is quite familiar with the VA and the Vet Center. Her husband is a former Marine. This will be the first time she will sue under the new HIPAA laws but has done her research.

    The VA has been sued successfully before. And I am willing to try.

    The Vet Center has been closed in Wichita since the "informal" investigation began here in November. I am a party to that investigation because some of the abuse was heaped on me by my therapist and the team leader (also a therapist). So yes there is much I cannot say because I was asked not to.

    This is of concern to me because some of the women in that group are now being seen by the VA Behavioral Health Sciences Dept. And some of these same women may be in the group I attend every other week at the VA now. If this is the case I will have to seek outside therapy services for both individual and group. I am looking at substantial costs to attend these because they are not covered by insurance.

    I have two witnesses who finally came forward because I continued to see a therapist who was supposed to be working for me. She divulged some very sensitive information to a group of 6-8 women who are not on my Power of Attorney for health care. She broke the sanctity of her office by divulging things I said to her in one-to-one counselling sessions within that group as well. She slandered me as well.

    This is as much as I can say at this time.

    Thank you rmet for clarifying what we sue under.

    And I choose to tell people that I served this country with honor, dignity, and loyalty because I am proud of my service to this country. The women who served in the military even have their own memorial in DC called WIMSA...
    Last edited by frustrated vet; 01-23-2005 at 07:56 AM.
  10. #10
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    Even before the recent HIPAA, there always a risk to confidrntiality when therapists facilitating group therpay also conduct individual therapy and there may be times when the members of the group violate your confidentiality and may by association or in an attempt to resolve the situation involve the therapist. The usual response when this happens is to remind the group the limits of confidentiality but clearly if a therapist, discloses confidential without a waiver, unless it is mandated disclosure, it violates both administrative and civil law, working for the VA doesn't exempt them from the rules of confidentiality.
  11. #11
    frustrated vet is offline Junior Member
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    HIPAA Violation

    Since I was neither suicidal nor homicidal, the therapist had no right to discuss anything with the group. There was an issue my decision to leave the group but the other things she disclosed were not needed in this situation. The things she said and did had nothing to do with the group.

    I will disclose one thing that is really peripheral to this action. It could be construed as more of a criminal action. One of the female vets in the group said she would beat the "crap out of me". The talk continued on in this manner for almost the full 2 hours of the group.

    That certainly gives you a picture of some of what happened. My two witness letters really put a person in that group day. They identify all objectionable actions.

    Now I am waiting for the letter from the Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights. As far as they are concerned the action started the day before Thanksgiving since that is when I was notified of the actions in and of that group. They have agreed to extend the statute of limitations so this action may go to court.

    By the way the therapists involved in that group are on administrative leave pending the investigation by the Vet Center. The Vet Center seemed less concerned about my therapists actions than other actions of the team leader.

    The state of Kansas is investigating as well.
  12. #12
    molady123 is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy HIPAA Violation

    Could you let me know who your lawyer is. I am having trouble finding a lawyer to help me. My entire medical record including metal health was sent to a family member. Va admits mistake. I have been suicidal ever since this happened. I would prefer a female lawyer also because of the things in my mental health record. I am a retired navy vet also.
  13. #13
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    molady123
    Don't expect any compensation for a mailing mistake, even if your brother had been removed as an authorized recipient of your mail. Your complaint will more likely than not be managed as notification to the VA that steps must be implemented to prevent such mistakes in the future.

    You did not become suicidal over this and saying you did will not allow you to collect any money from anyone.

    EC
    Last edited by ellencee; 05-01-2005 at 12:13 PM.
  14. #14
    molady123 is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs down You are very judgemental

    You must have never dealt with or been in the Military. You seem to think you have all the answers. Not every one who wants a lawyer is after money.Some of us want to ensure changes are made so that it won't happen to anyone eles. The Goverment has a habit of mishandling things. VA has a history of mishandling things. They also do a lot of things right to! Experience tells me if I don't do something this will happen again. This incident has increased my suicide thoughts.I am a combat vet dealing with severe PTSD. So you are wrong on the Suicide! I am angry too! Losing your entire medical record is tramatic. It is very personal. I filed a complaint with Hipaa and they are taking action because it is a VIOLATION! You need to educate your self. How can you judge so many who post?Who are you angry at?! What is your hang up with money? I've seen your other post and your info. RN???
  15. #15
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    moolady123

    This isn't about me; it's about your having a valid complaint yet (more likely than not) having no valid reason to collect damages.

    It is not in your best interest for anyone to support your delusions or fall for your dramatics. Your therapy, which spans more than a decade, should have been focused on your getting over the events that made you flip out and I imagine it did. There's only one problem--you don't want to get over it and lose all of the attention you get by being 'disturbed'. One thing about it, though, HIPAA won't change the way complaints are managed whether or not you continue with Act No. 4001.

    EC

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