The Healthcare field presents so many scenarios in which a simple decision can result in unethical or unlawful actions. Many of the situations in which healthcare workers or providers find themselves conducting unethical or unlawful actions are because of a lack of knowledge of the law and not intentional actions. Staying up to date with your HlPPA certifications and striving to respect patient confidentiality will greatly reduce those unwanted outcomes. In order to understand the following scenario HIPPA must be broken down and understood, HIPPA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability.
Act of 1996 and the primary goal of I-IIPPA is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs.( Drcyzehner, n.d.) That definition is really vague when considering the huge scope the l-IIPPA laws actually cover.
Violating HIPPA laws can result in minor repercussions such as counseling (Army terms) and as severe as large monetary fines, imprisonment, and loss of certifications and abilities to be a provider.
The following situation explains a situation in which the violator of the HIPPA laws committed an unintentional violation. The reason this person violated the HlPPA laws was due to a lack of knowledge on the subject even though he held a HIPPA certification. A Company Commander in the Army holds a certain class of HIPPA certification in order to be able to receive health information on the Soldiers that fall under his/her command.
Without having a l-IIPPA certification there would be many things a Commander would not be able to know, leading to issues they could not control.
In this specific case the Soldier who was the patient was a Reservist but was also a Federal Technician full-time, The patients name is Jane Doe Jane was diagnosed with a mental health disorder and was put on a Profile on the Reservist side. The company commander was informed of this issue by a Behavioral Health staff and a Medical Provider. The Solider had some limitations that were put in place to help her, she was not a danger by any means to her peers The Company Command, with Jane’s best interests in mind, contacted Jane’s supervisor on the Technician side and let him know about the mental health disorder Jane was diagnosed with and told the Supervisor to keep an eye on her and help her if needed.
The supervisor does not hold a HIPPA certification and when Jane found out what her Commander did she filed a complaint with the Inspector General‘s Office The IG’s office brought the issue to the State Surgeon’s office to discuss the repercussions and the proper route to continue the investigations Jane understood why the Commander did what he did but also understood it was not legalt Upon the 16 and Sate Surgeons investigation the Company Commander was forced to take a longer HIPPA class in order to fully understand the law, received a negative OER comment, which all officers know haunts you as you progress in your career, and was instructed to formally apologize to Jane.
In this situation the Company Commander was lucky for several reasons. One he kept his command, rank, pay, was not fined, and was not given an article 15, Something as simple as trying to look out for a Soldier could have resulted in much worse consequences. The issue also was confined to the lowest level and that Level was at a Division levelt If this was taken higher then that I could envision that the punishments would be more severe and could see a deeper investigation. All in all, many people learned from this scenario including the Company Commander and Jane was not negatively impacted by the Commander’s decision.