In the medical field, information regarding patients is private. Whether this information relates to their physical or mental health, physicians should not be sharing their personal information with others. When patients complete paperwork, they may include individuals that are allowed to receive information about their conditions. In these forms, they are giving their physician the approval to relay this information to that specific individual. This individual may be a spouse, a parent or anyone else they wish to have information given to. By providing this consent, the medical professional is not breaking HIPAA laws when they inform them of the patient’s condition. HIPAA laws are derived from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was created to ensure that medical professionals are not sharing confidential information about patients with other individuals. This part of the HIPAA laws is very important since it bars physicians from sharing information with others. The privacy of the patient is highly valued. Their information cannot be made public. Although their conditions may not be sensitive information, it is still confidential information due to these laws. Sometimes medical professionals may not even realize that they are breaking HIPAA laws. Just by simply stated that someone is receiving their treatment and care, it can be considered a violation of HIPAA laws. They are informing another party about a patient without the patient’s consent. This can result in an issue for healthcare professionals. There are other ways that are more direct and obvious. This example is one way that shows a mistake made by a professional.
How are these situations reported?
When HIPAA violations are made, medical professionals should be held accountable for this failure to adhere to the law. They have breached their contract with their patient, making them guilty of a HIPAA violation. If someone else in there institution were to find out about their violation, they may be legally obligated to report this violation. The violation could be reported by a hospital, patient or fellow physician. It can be reported to the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. When the report is received by this board, they will have to launch an investigation into the matter to determine if HIPAA was breached and if the medical professional should be penalized. The board can meet to decide on an outcome and possible consequences for the healthcare professional. They may even decide to take away someone’s medical license for this offense. This will ban the individual from practicing medicine.
When a medical professional is accused of misconduct, it is essential that they retain strong legal representation. If you require a medical law attorney for your legal matters, call Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer. Please contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.