Briefly summarize the issue and violation of this situation presents.

HIPAA is very easy to violate if you are not careful.  After reading an article about a 30 year old nurse who always trued to do the right thing and was well known  for doing great work at her hospital was fired for a HIPAA violation that was not intentional. Protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings and of who else might be within hearing distance when you are speaking to, or about, your patient. Use the least amount of personal information possible when conveying information.( Latner. JD, 2017).  If anyone is interested in reading this article it will be posted in the reference below.  At my job, even at my doctor’s office, I’ve seen nurses take a piece of napkin or paper and write down patient vitals with their names and proceed to the computer later to chart them in the system.  I see it all the time so I’m thinking that this is ok.  Now I see reading this discussion post and i’m thinking maybe this isn’t ok.  My hypothesis on that since this was done by a physician it could have been done unintentional, Who knows. Perhaps he was writing this information to chart in the system as well and lost track of time and lost it. Again HIPAA is very easy to violate if you are not careful so now here goes trouble.

What is your reporting obligation, and who should you contact regarding what you found?

The HIPAA Compliance Officer should be immediately contacted on behalf of the information that was found.  If this compliant is brushed underneath the rug then a complaint can be filed to the office for civil rights.  Once the OCR is contacted you should then provide detailed information on what you have found and where it came from. This should be filed within 180 days  of the discovery of the violation to be valid.

What repercussions could the person responsible for dropping this paper face?

There are four potential outcomes of violating HIPAA: The violation could be dealt with internally by the employer,  the employee in violation can be relieved of their duties with the company, The employer can face sanctions from the professional boards, the employer can face criminal charges which includes fines and imprisonment.  All of this can be based of the severity of the violation.

References

Latner, JD, Ann W. ( 2017 October 26) Fired after violating a patient’s privacy. Retrieved from: https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/home/my-practice/legal-advisor/fired-after-violating-a-patients-privacy/2/ (Links to an external site.)

Who do you report HIPAA Violations To? (n.d.) Retrieved from: https://www.hipaajournal.com/report-hipaa-violations/ (Links to an external site.)

What happens if you break the HIPAA Rules? (n.d.) Retrieved from: https://www.hipaajournal.com/what-happens-if-you-break-hipaa-rules/ (Links to an external site.)

 
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