HIPAA Compliance

You are the Director for Operations at a general hospital. You are responsible for the Health information Management
Department (HIM [the department formally known as Medical Records}). The supervisor of the HIM Department calls for
an immediate appointment. The supervisor states that she received a complaint and doesn’t know how to handle the
issue.

The complainant stated that:

1.Her friend. an employee in the HIM Department, told her confidential information about a mutual friend.

2.The complainant said that the employee told her that she (the employee) typed the patient’s discharge papers. The
employee shared that their mutual friend was admitted to the psychiatric unit for depression. Later in the conversation Ms.
Smith stated that she had heard the information from another source.

3.The complainant also stated that the employee texted the information to other friends as well.

4.The complainant said that she is contacting the patient to let her know of the situation.

5.In addition, the comptainant said that she wouid like to know the outcome of the investigation.

The supervisor interviewed the employee. The highlights of the conversation are:

1.The employee said that she was aware of her friend’s admission but had heard the information from other sources. She
said that a friend of the patient’s boyfriend was the one that fold her (the employee) the information.

2.The employee added that the patient’s mother accused her of spreading the information around town and at school. The
employee said that she called the mother to tell her she wasn’t the source of the information.

3.When the employee was asked if she discussed the patient’s admission with anyone, the employee said that she talked
with her friend. The supervisor asked the friend’s name and the friend was the complainant. She denied texting
information to friends. But, she said she ONLY shared the information she heard from her discussion with the friend of the
patient’s boyfriend.

  1. She stated that she is very clear about HIPAA guidelines and confidentiality. She said that she handled the patient’s
    record while carrying-out her usual job functions.

5.The employee said that she probably shouldn’t have called the patient’s mother but should have reported it to her
supervisor instead.

The supervisor doesn’t know what to do next. Please advise her and provide your answer using the analysis format below.

Establish the foundation for the analysis. Set the stage for the sections to follow. Be concise: highlight the
issues.

Problem Identification: Identify the major issues or problems to be solved in the analysis. List the steps in your
investigation.

Analyze the major issues and discuss the implications. Discuss the outcome. Is the issue critical? What changes
should be made. How do you address this issue? What steps will you take to decrease the potential of this occurring
again?

State and support your recommendations for solving the major problems identified in the analysis.
Apply the background given in your analysis to justify your recommendations. Consider personnel behavior changes
expected.

Sample Solution

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