[ Tuesday, May 05, 2015 ]


Is this a HIPAA breach?  A guy had a leg amputated, and the hospital threw the leg in the trash, with the patient's name written on it.  The cops found it in the landfill and, as you might expect, checked up on the guy, thinking foul play might've been involved.

One could argue that, while the name written on the leg is definitely an identifier, the leg itself is not "information" and therefore this could not be protected health information.  However, the presence of the leg (with the idenfitier) implies or imparts some information, even if it's not "information" itself.

I would suspect OCR would consider this to be PHI, based on past experience, but if you wanted to say it wasn't, I'd say you at least would have a leg to stand on.

Hat tip: Ron Holtsford  

Jeff [5:20 PM]

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