The healthcare industry imposes a crucial issue of information privacy for professionals within different departments. The case study describes a situation in which a medical social worker unwillingly violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Tom represents a covered entity and has authorization for access to the records of the patients. However, he does not have the right to disclose the information to the other parties, not involved in the treatment process without the patients’ permission.
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It is possible to say that the files of two patients’ records got lost due to Tom’s careless attitude to the information and the failure to comply with the Privacy Rule. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the situation, look at the healthcare employees’ responsibilities in case of HIPAA violation, and investigate the patients’ legal rights in such cases.
First, it is crucial to determine what responsibilities does Tom have in a described situation. Working with the private records imposes specific restrictions on the industry’s workers, and the obligation is to “treat patient information confidentially and protect its security” (“Health information confidentiality,” par. 1, 2016). In a situation that Tom has faced, he had violated this obligation, and the information was lost, which can be referred to as the disclosure without the patient’s consent.
The official rule when the data is breached requires the worker to notify the patients and the US Department of Health and Human Services (“Individuals’ right under HIPAA,” 2016). It is critical to report the incident as soon as possible because this violation can have different consequences for Tom, for the healthcare facility, and for the patients, whose records went missing.
The next significant aspect is the rights of the patients in case of breaches in their protected health information and the actions of the healthcare facility. As the paragraph above mentions, Tom is obligated to report to the patients and to HHS, which implies that the hospital’s protocol requires him to comply with those rules. Besides, the healthcare facility should develop proper sanctions against the employees who violate the Privacy Rule and whose actions lead to the information breaches (“Breach notification rule,” 2013).
The patient has a right to demand the violation disclosure to the media and to file claims against Tom if the PHI breach would have consequences (“Breach notification rule,” 2013). It is also critical to mention that HIPAA imposes substantial fees for the workers who violate the Privacy Rule. The penalty amount may vary from $100 to $50,000 per violation (“Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule,” 2013). In such a way, the situation presented in the case study can have severe outcomes for all the parties involved.
The information above briefly describes the potential consequences of the breach in the Privacy Rule. Also, this situation offers specific characteristics of Tom as a leader in the healthcare industry. The attitude towards the patients’ records was irresponsible from his side. Tom is working in a field where confidentiality, privacy, and security play essential roles, and he should always keep in mind the responsibility that he has. It is possible to say that Tom would not make a good leader for the current moment because he needs to learn from the experience and needs to acknowledge the seriousness of his obligations. In the future, this situation can serve an excellent lesson for Tom. If he manages it professionally, there is a possibility that he can become a leader.
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In conclusion, compliance with HIPAA and its Privacy Rule is critical for every healthcare employee. Specific privacy and confidentiality regulations exist to ensure the smooth flow of the information among the authorized individuals and to protect the patients from various possible issues. The situation that Tom has faced highlights the significance of strict compliance with the rules and pointed out the necessity of responsibility and careful attitude towards the information that medical workers receive.
Breach notification rule. (2013). Web.
Health information confidentiality. (2016). Web.
Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. (2013). Web.