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    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Dec 10, 2009, 07:11 PM
    Is this a HIPPA violation
    I was on the phone with a residents brother. He was trying to reach him but I let him know he was away from his room. He asked how he was doing. Now I am very aware I am not to discuss his medical condition, and did Not but I let him know that he seemed to have a very positive attitude and was quite active in the facility. That was it.Is this a violation?
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,268, Reputation: 7689
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    #2

    Dec 10, 2009, 07:42 PM

    First is the brother listed to see information.

    And what type of facility.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Dec 10, 2009, 07:54 PM

    Nursing home.The Brother is not listed on his face sheet but is a constant caller and visitor and I did not give medical information.I talk to man(the resident) quite abit and the family is always worried .I attested to his positve attitude which is refreshing and that he walks a lot . No Medical Info ~I wouldn't do that.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #4

    Dec 10, 2009, 07:58 PM

    It's borderline. I would tell the brother that you cannot discuss an aspect of the resident's condition with anoyone not lised.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,268, Reputation: 7689
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    #5

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:00 PM

    It is a tough call, It is enough info that I could see your company claiming it is. I would clarify it with the person over this in your work place to make a rule on what can or can't be.

    You gave information that could be considered medical, their attitude and that they were walking ( able to walk) and that they were not in their room,

    In general when people call in, they need to be informed they are not on an approved list and need to contact >>>>> to be added.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:07 PM

    His walking has nothing to do with his condition.That's what I should have stated in the beginning.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,268, Reputation: 7689
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    #7

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:11 PM

    OK, to you his walking has nothing to do, but being able to walk is medical.
    Look around and see how many people in your facility can't, so it is a call, he was well enough to
    1. be out of bed
    2. stand and walk
    3. and he was walking out of his room

    This with many patients are very notable medical conditions.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:36 PM

    Actually a lot of people on my unit can walk and choose to stay in the rooms. He stated he loves walking and has never liked to sit for very long so how that is medical info on any level I don't get.
    justcurious55's Avatar
    justcurious55 Posts: 4,360, Reputation: 790
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    #9

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:38 PM

    I think you're missing the point. And that is, there can certainly be an argument made that is is part of his medical info.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:45 PM

    Actually my exact statement to his brother was "I really enjoy talking to your brother He is such a Cheerful person. I think he's Wonderful!(Thus the positve attitude)
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,250, Reputation: 5641
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    #11

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:46 PM
    This certainly is borderline. For instance, I cannot tell a family member over the phone that my patient is in labor, or is not in labor. All I am allowed to say is that they are or are not a patient at my facility.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #12

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:49 PM
    Has anyone here but me actually read through any of the Hipaa laws?
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,250, Reputation: 5641
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    #13

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:51 PM
    I was actually tested on them in nursing school and frequently have to take CEU's regarding them.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,268, Reputation: 7689
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    #14

    Dec 10, 2009, 08:55 PM

    Actually people like J9 and myself work in the healthcare field and take classes on Hipaa all the time.

    Places where I work are very very stick, giving ANY info about a patient to anyone but another health care worker can cost me my license and job.

    If I am going to their home to do any modifications to their equipment, I can't even tell a neighbor who I am going to see.

    In many doctors offices, they have stopped calling people by name, but give them a number to be called up so no one hears their names.

    The issue is what your company, what other medical professionals and even what a court would consider medical info.

    Also remember it is not always just what is in the law statue but also what over the last few years courts have ruled on what it believes the meanings are.
    clerkjess's Avatar
    clerkjess Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Dec 10, 2009, 09:04 PM

    He did initially ask for his brother by full name and stated who he was and according to hipaa I was able to say whether he was or was not their.While I did not know until now that was the protocol I know on at least that part I did not violate.The hipaa is long and I have not read all of it so I haven't found answers to the other parts to my questions. I am not saying I'm right and I will proceed more carefully next time but the person who called me out blatantly violates Hipaa constantly and the nursing supervisor is friends with her and says nothing. She is a nurse while I am a unit clerk.I was not educated on Hipaa except not to give out medical info.I'm sure Nurses take courses to get the degree. Unlike her I will learn from my mistake.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #16

    Dec 11, 2009, 06:39 AM

    You should have mentioned, up front, that someone criticized you for what you did. That changes the complexion of things. It appeared you were just asking for future reference.

    Whether this person violates HIPAA constantly or not, is not your problem. The question is whether YOU did. If the resident or one of his relatives complained to the home management, you could be fired. It would appear the home management is playing with fire. First, because ALL employees should be trained in understanding HIPAA, second, if they allow an employee to violate it. This opens them up for fines, sanctions or even being shut down.

    This person who called on the phone, could have been anyone. You can't be sure it was actually the brother. So you need to play it safe, by stating nothing about the resident's condition, and their attitude can certainly be considered part of their condition.

    If you have witnessed any violations of HIPAA that you can prove, I would go to your supervisor, or the HR department and report them. Say only that you are concerned for the home, that you don't want them to be caught by HIPAA.

    Finally, some of us work in the healthcare field, others are familiar with law. You came here looking for help and you got answers from people familiar with HIPAA who could answer your question.

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