Privacy Officer's Roundtable

Help walk me through this

  • 1.  Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-26-2020 12:58 PM
    Dad and mom share custody but are having a custody battle.  Dad brings child to a scheduled dr appt that mom was meeting him at.  Dad shows up early trying to get seen earlier.  Mom doesn't know this.  Moms mother works at this office and sees dad, calls mom immediately.  It ended up with mom flying in, causing a scene, cops involved.  HIPAA violation or just bad choice?

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    Tara Yeaton, RHIT, CHPC
    Director of HIM Operations
    Deputy Privacy Officer
    MaineGeneral Medical Center
    Augusta, Me
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 2.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 07:07 AM
    Walk yourself through the loproco vs your internal policies. Consider business purpose policies such as: self-peer family treatment - was grandma supposed to be involved in this situation to begin with or hand it over to another coworker?

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    Brenda Manning J.D., C.H.C., C.H.P.C.
    Compliance Director, Privacy
    Carilion Clinic

    The views expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer. They are not meant to constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 3.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 07:57 AM
    She shouldn't have had anything to do with it. She is not part of the check in staff. She just happened to see him. Policy says to hand it off as you said, but I wasn't certain if alerting that the child was there was also a HIPAA violation. I am leaning towards no since mom knew there was an appt, just not that it was early.

    Tara Yeaton, RHIT, CHPC
    Director of HIM
    Operations and Transcription
    Deputy Privacy Officer
    MaineGeneral Medical Center


    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 4.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 08:49 AM
    ​My response is it was a very poor choice, technically not very professional, but not a HIPAA violation. The mother was the patients joint representative, along with the father, so she had a right to know under HIPAA. However, as hard as it would be to be the grandmother...she should have left it alone. Sounds like she contributed to a domestic dispute.

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    Vicky Roe RN CPMA CHC Compliance Clinical Auditor
    Southeast Georgia Health System
    Brunswick, GASheldon Roe
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 5.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 09:32 AM
    ​Thank you both for replying.  I had the right answer, I just need to stop second guessing myself.  I appreciate your help.

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    Tara Yeaton, RHIT, CHPC
    Director of HIM Operations
    Deputy Privacy Officer
    MaineGeneral Medical Center
    Augusta, Me
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 6.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 12:35 PM
    I think it depends on what was said:

    1.  employee calls and says "Joe (dad) is here":  I don't see any PHI as Joe is not the patient.

    2.  employee calls and says "Joe is here trying to get Billy seen early":  I'd say this is an impermissible disclosure.

    I'd also look at whether there has been any preliminary custody order where mom has primary custody and needs to be informed of any health information.  Or if both parents have stated they want each other to be informed about Billy's health care.

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    David Garrison
    Compliance/Privacy Officer
    SEARHC
    Juneau,AK
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 7.  RE: Help walk me through this

    Posted 01-27-2020 03:46 PM
    ​David, it was number 2.  After speaking to the worker, I learned she saw him in the waiting room when she went to get a patient.  She made the call at that point.  After speaking to my legal team, we did end up going with impermissible disclosure.   Sometimes it's good to get everyone's perspective and not just my own.  Thanks for replying.

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    Tara Yeaton, RHIT, CHPC
    Director of HIM Operations
    Deputy Privacy Officer
    MaineGeneral Medical Center
    Augusta, Me
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    2020 SCCE Membership