[ Tuesday, December 04, 2012 ]


Prime of California Fined: Occasionally you'll hear the complaint, usually from physicians, that they can't respond to complaints from disgruntled patients, particularly when they're put on social media or customer ranking sites like Yelp, because of HIPAA.  And generally those complaints are correct; to even respond in a way that indicates the patient is your patient is a potential HIPAA violation, even if it's truthful, and even if it only contains information the patient already put out there on the social media website.  To paraphrase Ron Washington, that's just the way HIPAA go.

Case in point: Prime Healthcare's Shasta Regional Medical Center has been fined $95,000 for a privacy breach that occurred when hospital officials tried to respond to a patient's complaint that was published by a "journalism website." I've previously noted the case here.  The patient complained that the hospital had billed Medicare for treating her for kwashiorkor, a malnutrition condition, and the website was reporting that the hospital was coding a lot of kwashiorkor patients.  Hospital officials disclosed portions of the patient's medical record to other media outlets who picked up the story, in an effort to prove the kwashiorkor diagnosis, and the patient complained that such disclosure was a breach of her privacy (even though she was more than happy to provide similarly confidential information to the press for purposes of making the hospital look bad). 

Jeff [11:01 PM]

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