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Old 01-24-2013, 08:23 PM   #1
Tam1067
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Advice about HIPAA issue

I'm seeking unbiased advice here!

My DS 15 was hit in the head at school by another student. The hit was intentional. DS was confused and could not remember details from his day, but he never lost consciousness. Because of his symptoms, we took him to the ER. They did a CT which was clear, but the ER doctor said he had a mild concussion and should not do PE for two weeks and could stay home from school for 5 days (she wrote him an absence excuse).

He returned to school the next day and took his final exams because he did not want to put them off until after the holidays, but still felt lousy for a few more days.

We and his teachers reported the incident to the school, so the guy who hit him was punished according to school policy. This incident has caused quite a bit of personal trouble for DS because a couple the kids who were his friends no longer speak to him; they blame him for the kid getting in trouble. But we are dealing with that!

Now, about a month after this incident, DS heard from another student (who knows all the kids involved) that her mother, who is an ER doctor at a different hospital and who has never treated my son, accessed his CT records and determined that it was not a "medical concussion" because the CT did not show scarring, that the doctor at that the original ER did not know what she was doing, and that my DS is a "baby."

I am upset that she was looking at his records when she had no business doing so and that she told her daughter about this as well.

Does anyone have advice about what I should do? Should I report this to the hospital? To the federal government as a HIPAA violation? Any thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:30 PM   #2
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How do you know the girl is telling the truth about her mother? It really sounds like someone trying to get your son riled up again.

I also doubt that Hospital A would have been sharing records with Hospital B without a signed consent in place. Just from my experience, two unaffiliated hospitals would not have a system in place for employees to look at each other's records. The request would have have to gone through someone at the hospital where your son was treated.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tam1067 View Post
I'm seeking unbiased advice here!

My DS 15 was hit in the head at school by another student. The hit was intentional. DS was confused and could not remember details from his day, but he never lost consciousness. Because of his symptoms, we took him to the ER. They did a CT which was clear, but the ER doctor said he had a mild concussion and should not do PE for two weeks and could stay home from school for 5 days (she wrote him an absence excuse).

He returned to school the next day and took his final exams because he did not want to put them off until after the holidays, but still felt lousy for a few more days.

We and his teachers reported the incident to the school, so the guy who hit him was punished according to school policy. This incident has caused quite a bit of personal trouble for DS because a couple the kids who were his friends no longer speak to him; they blame him for the kid getting in trouble. But we are dealing with that!

Now, about a month after this incident, DS heard from another student (who knows all the kids involved) that her mother, who is an ER doctor at a different hospital and who has never treated my son, accessed his CT records and determined that it was not a "medical concussion" because the CT did not show scarring, that the doctor at that the original ER did not know what she was doing, and that my DS is a "baby."

I am upset that she was looking at his records when she had no business doing so and that she told her daughter about this as well.

Does anyone have advice about what I should do? Should I report this to the hospital? To the federal government as a HIPAA violation? Any thoughts?

Thanks.
If this is true that is a terrible violation on the part of the MD. I would call the hospital where the event supposedly occured, they should have a risk managment team that will look into it. Although, I hate to say that since she's an MD rather than an RN she'll probably just get a slap on the wrist!

One question, around here you can't access records from other hospitals unless they are part of the same system. Is this the case where you live?
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:37 PM   #4
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The girl told my son that the ERs are on the same system. I don't know how these things work though. She also knew the CT was clear so I think she does know what she's talking about.

I'm shocked and angry.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:43 PM   #5
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Big violation of HIPPA. I would report it to the hospital HR and let them know what has occurred and you are looking at what recourse may be available.

If she did access your son's medical records it will be in their system stating so.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:44 PM   #6
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I suspect the story about someone's mother who is an ER doc at a different hospital, accessing your DS's records is likely bunk and is fabricated to add weight to a position that your son wasn't injured. I would ask the hospital that treated your son if what is reported is possible and if so ask them to audit the record to see who viewed it. I can't imagine an ER doc violating law in such a cavalier manner and speaking about it loosely to a child. But, stranger things have happened. If it turns out the mom ER doc did violate privacy, then yes I would pursue the matter because healthcare providers take this type of situation very serious.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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I've had numerous hospital employees tell me they looked at records they should not look at! :O Oh my, what people will tell their hairdressers.

I'm thinking if they're on the same system that this could be true because of my experience. It is truly upsetting.

I wish your son well.

My sister teaches high school and the stories she tells me think there is no amount of money in this world that would make me be a teacher--esp. where she lives. I wouldn;t even call it "teaching" anymore.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:02 PM   #8
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Is it possible? Yes. Plausible? No.

The mother of a girl who was not a participant in the situation is going to risk her job, her license abd her career to involve herself in an argument between two boys? In her shoes I might be tempted to look at the records, but to discuss them with her teenage daughter and allow her daughter to share those juicy tidbits?

I'm thinking the daughter might be "embelishing" the truth.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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If the doc mom has privileges or any of her partners have them she probably has access to any electronic medical records.


I would call the hospital that treated your son and ask to speak to their general counsel. I would ask him to launch an investigation at his hospital via it. If she accessed the record there should be log in information. I would also ask him to contact the general counsel at the non treating hospital.

Finally if the kid intentionally hit your son, I'd file criminal charges but that's me.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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As a medical professional, I think you should make a written statement and formal complaint to BOTH hospitals. I would simply state the facts, who said what, and that you feel there may be a violation of your privacy.

That said, I don't assume the mom, MD is guilty of anything. The daughter may be making stuff up! But that is why it is up to each hospital to investigate and determine if a violation is made. If it is via computer, there are trails left for such a case, and they will know which physician looked at your son's record and where.

It is a federal mandate that all ER's be able to share info, so it is possible these 2 separate hospitals have their systems in place already.

Follow up with the hospitals, and if a violation was made and you feel it is appropriate, complain to the Federal government, AMA, even the hospital's accreditation board. It is unprofessional conduct if from the mother and should at least be investigated, if no legal action taken. And if it is that the daughter is spreading such rumors, mom needs to know about it and have a lonnnng talk with the daughter.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:15 PM   #11
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If the hospitals are in the same system she could have easily looked up your son's information. It is very simple now that the hospitals use electronic medical records. I would call the hospital and file a complaint and also report the HIPAA violation. But I would go a step further and report the doctor to your state's licensing board. This is a major violation and on top of it she gave the information to her child who in turned used it to bully your son. This is not something that you can or should let go.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriABil View Post
As a medical professional, I think you should make a written statement and formal complaint to BOTH hospitals. I would simply state the facts, who said what, and that you feel there may be a violation of your privacy.

That said, I don't assume the mom, MD is guilty of anything. The daughter may be making stuff up! But that is why it is up to each hospital to investigate and determine if a violation is made. If it is via computer, there are trails left for such a case, and they will know which physician looked at your son's record and where.

It is a federal mandate that all ER's be able to share info, so it is possible these 2 separate hospitals have their systems in place already.

Follow up with the hospitals, and if a violation was made and you feel it is appropriate, complain to the Federal government, AMA, even the hospital's accreditation board. It is unprofessional conduct if from the mother and should at least be investigated, if no legal action taken. And if it is that the daughter is spreading such rumors, mom needs to know about it and have a lonnnng talk with the daughter.
This Also, there are other levels of complaint, including the MD's board certification (likely through the American Board of Emergency Medicine) and the state medical board.

The problem is that you don't have any documentation -- it's all hearsay, and second-hand hearsay at that.

Best wishes.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorelei Lee View Post
Is it possible? Yes. Plausible? No.

The mother of a girl who was not a participant in the situation is going to risk her job, her license abd her career to involve herself in an argument between two boys? In her shoes I might be tempted to look at the records, but to discuss them with her teenage daughter and allow her daughter to share those juicy tidbits?

I'm thinking the daughter might be "embelishing" the truth.
You'd seriously be tempted to look at some friend of your daughter's er record because he was fighting with some other kid?

Seems totally plausible she'd share the info with her daughter if she was nosey and childish enough to involve herself in high school drama by looking at the records in the first place.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:30 PM   #14
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I have a very strong feeling the girl is lying. The only way her mother could have viewed the CT scans/results is if they were part of the same hospital system. Such as University Hospital Smallttown Division and University Hospital City Division. That is something that is very easy to find out. Just go on the hospitals website. Like here, the Hospital of the University of Pensylvania is part of the Pennhealth system. All you have to do is google "Pennhelath" or "HUP" and the website will clearly show you what hospitals are within the system.

If the hospitals are not within the same system there is no way that the MD could have viewed your son's electronic records. For her to get your son's records you would have had to sign a release of information form.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor3297 View Post
Big violation of HIPPA. I would report it to the hospital HR and let them know what has occurred and you are looking at what recourse may be available.

If she did access your son's medical records it will be in their system stating so.
I have heard this before. There is a tracking system of who accesses records.
I don't think it's monitored unless a problem crops up.

But yes, I would report it. Let the hospital administration find out if your son's records were accessed. I would request confirmation one way or the other. That's the only way you will know.

It's a serious breach, if true and deserves attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckalew11 View Post
I've had numerous hospital employees tell me they looked at records they should not look at! :O Oh my, what people will tell their hairdressers.

I'm thinking if they're on the same system that this could be true because of my experience. It is truly upsetting.

I wish your son well.

My sister teaches high school and the stories she tells me think there is no amount of money in this world that would make me be a teacher--esp. where she lives. I wouldn;t even call it "teaching" anymore.
I have heard the same thing. It is shocking. I can't imagine violating someone like that.

-----------------

I'm sorry for what your DS is going through. It's bad enough he was assaulted. To hear the parents are involved in this too is over the top. Disturbing.

I hope things get better for your DS soon.
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