mobey

Double patient transfer - HIPAA breech?

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My favorite movie of all time, forever!

Anyway, I've handled double inter-facility transfers before. They were always VA ER transfers to the VA psych unit and apparently approved to be done by the VA. Apparently, that is. Whether it was truly legal, I will never know.

Sadly, most people are forced into doing things they deem inappropriate because they need their jobs, and they just don't know any better.

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It could be a violation depending upon how you handle the situation. If you are in the US and divulge confidential information about that patient to someone else not involved in their care, then you have violated HIPPA. Here is how I see it:

You have three patients in back of the ambulance and you ask them about their history. They answer on their own accord in front of the others, you have not violated the law.

But if one of the patients told you they had AIDs confidentially, and then you mentioned that in your radio/phone report to the hospital, in front of the other patients, then you have violated HIPPA.

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It could be a violation depending upon how you handle the situation. If you are in the US and divulge confidential information about that patient to someone else not involved in their care, then you have violated HIPPA. Here is how I see it:

You have three patients in back of the ambulance and you ask them about their history. They answer on their own accord in front of the others, you have not violated the law.

But if one of the patients told you they had AIDs confidentially, and then you mentioned that in your radio/phone report to the hospital, in front of the other patients, then you have violated HIPPA.

Agreed, but unless their HIv/AIDS was relevant/pertinent to their injuries and situation and thus their treatment, I would simply leave it out in the radio report. Obviously you would document the whole story and fill in the hospital later, but I see no harm in leaving it out of the radio report. I've done this in the past and was told later by the hospital it was the proper way to handle it. I've had young girls reluctant to talk about being on Birth control pills, or males taking things like Viagra- especially if the patients happen to be only casual acquaintances. That's their prerogative, and often for no particular reason, patients don't give us an accurate description of their PMH anyway.

In MVI's, your radio reports are generally abbreviated anyway- many times you only give basics like stable/unstable, triage color, ETA and basic treatment, so omitting specifics isn't a big deal. Just make sure that when you arrive at the hospital, you fill in the ER's on any details you may have omitted.

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I would love to have it in writing whether or not this is LEGAL.  I wanted to take two stroke patient's to a hospital that is 46 miles away.  Both patient's agreed to ride together and a Nurse "POP's" his head in the door and says " You can not take two patients together, it's a HIPAA violation".  I had an extra Paramedic going with me, so there was no "Lack of Attention" to either patient.  Both patient's understood that they would both get there sooner, and no one would be left to wait on another truck.  We have done this in the past and gave them a shared ride discount.  Again, I am interested in the LEGALITY.  Thank You in advance.

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11 hours ago, Medicop said:

I would love to have it in writing whether or not this is LEGAL.  I wanted to take two stroke patient's to a hospital that is 46 miles away.  Both patient's agreed to ride together and a Nurse "POP's" his head in the door and says " You can not take two patients together, it's a HIPAA violation".  I had an extra Paramedic going with me, so there was no "Lack of Attention" to either patient.  Both patient's understood that they would both get there sooner, and no one would be left to wait on another truck.  We have done this in the past and gave them a shared ride discount.  Again, I am interested in the LEGALITY.  Thank You in advance.

I believe that that nurse is incorrect.  Writing would be good though. 

and what about patients who are sharing a semi-private room?  Is that a ongoing 24 hour a day HIPAA violation?  

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The real questions should be 1. Can we safely transport two patients and provide high quality care to both? 2. Can we protect the patient’s health information and personal identifying information?  I would argue that you cannot safely transport two patients in the same unit and that you cannot protect the patient’s personal health information.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, 1EMT-P said:

The real questions should be 1. Can we safely transport two patients and provide high quality care to both? 2. Can we protect the patient’s health information and personal identifying information?  I would argue that you cannot safely transport two patients in the same unit and that you cannot protect the patient’s personal health information.

 

 

 

 

I agree with both points.

 

but if semi private rooms are not HIPAA violations that happen many times a day, then transporting two patients is not  in my opinion.  But again, I would want to see this in writing from either the Hipaa gods or my legal team.  

Michael

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the question we should ask ourselves is this

Aside from transporting 2 patients from a MVC or something similar, should we be transporting 2 patients like the original poster asked.  

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