Essay about Hipaa Violation

1541 Words Dec 7th, 2011 7 Pages
Course Project Rough Draft

MGH HIPAA violation case

Jennifer Brummage Medical Law and Ethics

In the health care business, there are certain standards and laws that have been put in place to protect our patients and their personal health information. When a health care facility fails to protect their patient’s confidential information, the US Government may get involved and facilities may be forced to pay huge sums of money in fines, and risk damaging their reputation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established in 1996. This Act was put into place in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system. The HIPAA law includes a Privacy
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According to the complaint that was filed, the employee had removed the folder containing the documents from her bag and placed them in the seat beside her. The documents were not in an envelope and they were bound only by a rubber band. Upon exiting the train, the MGH employee left the documents on the subway train. The documents were never recovered.
This incident was later reported to the Office of Civil rights (OCR) by a patient who was informed by the hospital that his medical records had been lost by an employee and left them on a subway train. The One hundred and ninety two patients involved had been patients of the hospitals Infectious Disease outpatient practice, which includes HIV/AIDS patients. The fact that the patients involved in this case were potentially AIDS patients, made the violation that much more serious. Investigators had to take in to account that these people had their medical records lost, and in those records were their phone numbers and addresses and possibly their place of employment. If these documents fell into the wrong hands, the potential for destroying the patients’ lives was very high. Had a person with malicious intent got ahold of their information, they could have harassed the patient and possibly spread their personal information around, which could have had devastating consequences.
The Office of Civil Rights began their investigation of Massachusetts General following the
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