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ColinW

Is this a HIPPA law violation?

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Ok I need some EMS opinons on this, my friend who is a volunteer fireman and I got in to a arguement about this the other day here is his status from facebook:

".....it was pertty cool i got to assist with CPR on a medical today, wasnt much we could do (R.I.P old man)...."

I said since we live in a town of 2,000 thats odds are you have one of his family members as a friend on facebook and you could get in trouble for that though the HIPPA laws. He blew me off and said that he couldn't get in trouble and that hes been doing it for longer than so basicly I dont know what im talking about, really pissed me off. I asked my mom what she made of it (RN of 30 years) and she said she thinks it broke some laws. If it didn't violate a HIPPA law at the least it was very disrespectful to the departed and his family.

What do you guys make of this?

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no names were given or any personal information. just that CPR was given and condolences. while this is NOT a "Hipaa" violation it is in bad taste and not very professional.

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First, if you are going to accuse someone of breaking a law, ensure it is one that actually exists. There is no such thing as a HIPPA law; there is however a HIPAA law. While you may brush that correction aside, the mere fact that you can not spell it also supports the fact that you do not know what it actually is.

Your example in no way violates HIPAA.

It is only a violation of HIPAA if your agency bills insurance companies for services rendered. HIPAA was created to protect patient information when it is shared within various agencies for billing and how that information is stored and transmitted, etc.

Is what he did a violation of ethics, was it disrespectful? I do not think so. It is a volley bragging for his hero status with no patient identifiers, so no big deal. Yes in the small town, some of his friends may know who died and they may now know he did CPR on the dead guy, but he is not the one who gave names or other specific information...so again in my non-legally supported opinion it was not wrong. Stupid, annoying, and typical of a whacker, but not illegal.

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Sorry AK, you are wrong regarding this law only applying to those who bill. Anyone who divulges confidential information is subject to the law, but you are correct, this was not a violation of the law, as no specific person was identified. But this does show the need for a law to rein in this whole facebook/internet mess. The poster is right, there was probably only one cardiac arrest in a town that small that day, so it would not be hard to figure out who the poster was talking about. I am tired of constant posts from firefighters, emts, and medics bitching about how their shift is going. If you got time to post about it on the internet, while on shift, I would say your boss needs to find something for you to do.

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IMHO....... The details provided do not violate HIPAA. HOWEVER..... since this is a "wide spot in the road community," everyone generally knows everybody's business in very short order or at least is able to deduce quickly/easily with minimal information (I grew up in one of those. I couldn't sneeze without my parents finding out).

Was it a direct violation of HIPAA? Probably not. An indirect/inadvertent violation of HIPAA? Probably so.

That's the bad thing about small communities and social media. You're probably better off not posting anything about calls.

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If I seen one of my people write that on FB. There would be no more assisting. "RIP Old Man"? That's disrespectful, and inappropriate in any setting. However, in a small town, pointing out you helped, and someone died. It's probably going to be real easy to determine who. Although, while it's distasteful, only in my opinion, it's not illegal.

HIPAA.

However, a violation in certain terms under HIPAA could be construed as identifying any person to a call, with in a specific area. You shouldn't say anything, that can identify a patient within an area smaller than a state as a good policy. Like if you walked into a store, and talked about just having a fatal crash, described the car, and the injuries.. and the patients husband was behind you, freaked out, etc.. He could nail you, I know that's possible, because it happened about fifteen miles from here. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible for me to sue the state police for the same thing. I was in a gas station on Thanksgiving, and a trooper was bragging about an MVA w/ Entrapment that he had to take care of. Told me about the patient, fussy, probably drunk, b/c who could wreck in dry conditions.. Told me what kind of truck, wow, that sounds just like my Mother's pick-up. The roads weren't dry, it was snowing, and the DOT was not on duty which happens often in rural areas........

Reworded**

Edited by 2c4

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I was investigated for possible HIPAA violations for postings that described on scene incidents with very hazy personal details but pretty specific medical findings. (BPs, HRs, etc.) The corporate compliance attorney stated that I had violated HIPAA in that people could make a pretty good guess as to who I was talking about, based on some of the incidents occurring in a small town. I got a slap on the wrist after promising to sin no more. Whereas I was under the impression that I had NOT violated HIPAA, he was the lawyer.

Be very careful out there folks.

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Sorry AK, you are wrong regarding this law only applying to those who bill. Anyone who divulges confidential information is subject to the law, but you are correct, this was not a violation of the law, as no specific person was identified. But this does show the need for a law to rein in this whole facebook/internet mess. The poster is right, there was probably only one cardiac arrest in a town that small that day, so it would not be hard to figure out who the poster was talking about. I am tired of constant posts from firefighters, emts, and medics bitching about how their shift is going. If you got time to post about it on the internet, while on shift, I would say your boss needs to find something for you to do.

If you are going to tell someone they are wrong, then the onus is on you to prove it. Kind of like religion, I say there is no god, you say there is God so it is up to you to provide the proof as I can not prove a negative nor is there need to.

Here is the first link I came to in a very rapid Google search and because of it's simplicity I am linking it...there are much more detailed descriptions out there if you wish to search, but typical of your fashion is to throw shit out there with no supporting evidence.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/index.html

The Privacy and Security Rules apply only to covered entities. Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA must comply with the Rules' requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information. If an entity is not a covered entity, it does not have to comply with the Privacy Rule or the Security Rule.

Here is a list of Health Care Providers which are covered entities:This includes providers such as:

* Doctors

* Clinics

* Psychologists

* Dentists

* Chiropractors

* Nursing Homes

* Pharmacies

...but only if they transmit any information in an electronic form in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard.

****Please note that violations of HIPAA rules (as I stated) only applies to agencies which transmit information electronically for transactions (bill for services).

Please prove me wrong crotchity as I am never opposed to becoming better informed as long as the information delivered is supported by factual evidence.

IMHO....... The details provided do not violate HIPAA. HOWEVER..... since this is a "wide spot in the road community," everyone generally knows everybody's business in very short order or at least is able to deduce quickly/easily with minimal information (I grew up in one of those. I couldn't sneeze without my parents finding out).

Was it a direct violation of HIPAA? Probably not. An indirect/inadvertent violation of HIPAA? Probably so.

That's the bad thing about small communities and social media. You're probably better off not posting anything about calls.

Wowsers!!! When did you return? I didn't catch the name at first!!!

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while this is NOT a "Hipaa" violation it is in bad taste and not very professional.

The corporate compliance attorney stated that I had violated HIPAA in that people could make a pretty good guess as to who I was talking about, based on some of the incidents occurring in a small town..... Whereas I was under the impression that I had NOT violated HIPAA, he was the lawyer. Be very careful out there folks.

Was it a direct violation of HIPAA? Probably not. An indirect/inadvertent violation of HIPAA? Probably so.

That's the bad thing about small communities and social media. You're probably better off not posting anything about calls.

These responses speak for me.

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