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    mx81dad's Avatar
    mx81dad Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Dec 2, 2014, 04:23 AM
    Handicapped HIPAA violation?
    I live in Delaware and I applied for a handicapped hunting permit with our state of Delaware fish and wildlife division. One week after applying I went into my supervisor's office and he told me the person in charge of the wildlife enforcement section (which he personally knows) and who also signs the permit told him I applied and what my disabilities were for applying. At this point I still did not receive my permit from the head of enforcement. I did not want anyone at my State of Delaware job that I have to know. I consider that to be very personal. Did the State of Delaware Wildlife enforcement head violate my HIPAA privacy rights? My supervisor or anyone else at my State of Delaware job did not know anything before this mentioned incident.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #2

    Dec 2, 2014, 05:10 AM
    Are your dissabilities apparent ? Is this what you mean, or that your supervisor knows you applied for a permit. I don't see a
    violation of this code; no confidential issues were breached. Why does the fact that you applied for a hunting permit have to be kept private?
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,278, Reputation: 5644
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    #3

    Dec 2, 2014, 05:20 AM
    If these people were not your medical providers HIPAA was not violated. Think of HIPAA as doctor/patient privilege.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #4

    Dec 2, 2014, 05:36 AM
    Permits, whether for parking or hunting or use of special accesses, are public information. There is no privacy.
    An employer has a right to know if an employee has a handicap. Also any medical condition. An employee can be a risk to other employees, customers, and himself. He or she could have something contagious, could be a risk for harming others, could not be able to navigate equipment and buildings safely.
    AND more and more insurers of company liability are requiring more such data about employees.
    NOTHING AT ALL to do with HIPAA!
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #5

    Dec 2, 2014, 10:12 AM
    As others have noted HIPAA applies to professional health care workers (doctors, nurses, and their staff) and medical insurance companies. It does not apply to employees of the state, in this case a worker at the department fo fish and wildlife. However, there MAY be a privacy policy that the depatment has regarding information that you or your physician provided on your license application, and if so it's possible that the state employee violated that policy. Check your copy of the license application - is there anything on there regarding a privacy policy?

    As a practical matter - the degree of handicap that you must have to qualify for a handicapped hunting or fishing license is pretty severe, and hence it would seem that anyone who knows you is probably already aware of your condition (wheelchair-bound, or unable to walk more than 200 feet without rest or assistance, or single- or double-amputee, or severly limited due to arthritis or other condition). Are you sure your supervisor was unaware of your condition prior to this incident?
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #6

    Dec 2, 2014, 11:14 AM
    I will agree, the state worker did not violate HIPAA since he is not subject to HIPAA regulations as he is not a provider of medical services.

    On the other hand, I would consider this a significant breach of ethics and this person should be reported to his supervisor for revealing this information to a friend outside the office. While the fact that you obtained a Handicapped License may be public, the reasons may not be. Even if they are, revealing it to someone would still raise ethical questions.

    The problem with reporting it to his supervisor is that your supervisor may take reprisals against you. I also question that you have not informed your HR department about your disabilities. An employer is entitled to know of anything that might interfere with your work. And disabilities that are enough to warrant a special hunting license may fall into that category.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #7

    Dec 2, 2014, 07:20 PM
    Yep, not a HIPAA violation but likely violates confidentiality of official information
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7691
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    #8

    Dec 3, 2014, 12:10 AM
    This is not a HIPAA violation because the people giving the information out are not medical persons.

    Also, this type of information is public knowledge, so really no laws were violated.

    Also your work place must know you are disabled, if it is bad enough to get a hurting permit, so you do not want people at work, to know you have a hunting permit ?
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #9

    Dec 3, 2014, 07:24 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Ballengerb1
    Yep, not a HIPAA violation but likely violates confidentiality of official information
    What is "confidentiality of official information"? I don't know about Delaware, but in most states information like that is not confidential, in fact any member of the public has the right to review public records, with specified exceptions.

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