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HIPAA Violations

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Directions: For this assignment, read the story and then list the HIPAA violations that you find.

Heather was at home when she began to experience severe abdominal pain. She decided she needed to go to the nearest emergency room for help. Upon her arrival she was met by the intake specialist who asked her why she was there. Heather explained she had been having severe abdominal pain for two days and it was getting worse and she was having a hard time standing up. The intake specialist, shouted across the room, “We have Heather here for abdominal pain, do we have a room?”

At this time, a nurse stuck her head out of a hallway and shouted that she would be right there to take Heather back to a room. Meanwhile, Heather was asked to wait in the holding area, until the nurse would come and get her. As Heather waited in the room, she noticed several patient’s names scribbled on the white board with a reason for visit. She wondered if she knew any of those people, so she read the entire list and discovered her neighbor, Stephanie was there for an apparent anxiety attack. Heather thought to herself, “I knew this neighbor was a bit odd, and now it is confirmed!” After twenty minutes of waiting, Heather felt she could have memorized the list. After all, what else was there to do? No one offered her any activities to keep her busy while she waited. Finally, the nurse came in and led her to her room. As she entered the room, she noticed, her full name was posted outside of the door for all to see. Well, Heather, thought, this might be good because with the names on the door, family members will be able to find their loved ones easily.

The nurse took her vitals and prepared her for the doctor to examine her. The doctor walked in the room and said, “I apologize for the delay, but I was putting sutures in Mrs. Donaldson’s hand. She has had a bad night. Her dog bit her and left a deep hole on the back of her hand. Well, enough about her, how can I help you?”

Once again, Heather explained that she was having severe abdominal pain. The doctor then examined her and ordered an ultrasound to rule out gall stones. He said for her to sit tight and someone will be in to take her down to x-ray. As she waited, Heather heard the nurses outside her door, talking about a patient named Amanda Johnson who came in with scabies. The nurses were making fun of Amanda because she was a large woman. They were laughing and laughing. Just then, the ultrasound tech arrived and took Heather down for her test.

Heather’s ultrasound was over rather quickly and the tech took her back to her room. The tech stated that the results should take no more than 30 minutes. Heather waited patiently and suddenly, she heard the doctor in the hallway, telling the nurses that Heather had gall stones and should be referred to a surgeon for a consult. Heather noticed that there were visitors hanging out in the same area where the doctor was talking loudly about her diagnosis.

The doctor came into the room and began to tell Heather the results but she interrupted him and said, “Yes, I heard you tell everyone out there I have gall stones.” The doctor proceeded to tell her that they would give her the name of a surgeon, and she should follow up A.S.A.P. for possible gall bladder removal. He told her that her discharge papers would be ready soon.

After an hour of waiting, the nurse arrived with her discharge paper work. She handed them to her and asked her to, “Sign here”. Heather just wanted to leave, so she signed the form. Once she got into her car, she looked at the discharge form and discovered, it was not her discharge paperwork at all, it was her neighbor Stephanie’s!

List all of the HIPAA Violations in the story above.

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