[ Wednesday, April 04, 2007 ]


What HIPAA Doesn't Do: Here's an interesting case: a hospital worker in New Orleans refused to identify a domestic abuse victim who didn't want to press charges, on the grounds that the information was protected by HIPAA (a nurse had already called 911 when the patient said her injuries were caused when her husband pushed her down). A warrant was issues for the hospital worker on obstruction of justice grounds, and she was arrested. Charges were dropped against her, but she sued the police for false arrest. She lost, because HIPAA didn't prevent her from identifying the patient.

The article does have a big misstatement of HIPAA, naturally. If state law compels healthcare workers to report abuse, HIPAA does not "generally bar hospitals from reporting" the abuse; in the contrary, disclosures required by law are perfectly acceptable under HIPAA.

Jeff [11:08 AM]

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