Wednesday, October 10, 2007

George Clooney and HIPAA Minimum Necessary Rule

An attorney I work with sent me a link to the following Fox News article, Doctors, Hospital Workers Suspended for Viewing George Clooney's Medical Records. For more news check out Google News search.

The article indicates that 40 employees at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, NJ were suspended for violating the hospital's HIPAA policies and procedures.

Based on the information in the article I suspect that the employees were found to have violated the minimum necessary provisions under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. This section of the rule provides:
For uses of protected health information, the covered entity’s policies and procedures must identify the persons or classes of persons within the covered entity who need access to the information to carry out their job duties, the categories or types of protected health information needed, and conditions appropriate to such access.
As more news comes out about this I suspect this might serve as a good example of application of the minimum necessary requirements under HIPAA. If the employees further disclosed the information to third parties outside the hospital (including the media) other provisions of HIPAA might also come into play.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

anyone concerned about their own health privacy should go to www.patientprivacyrights.org

Anonymous said...

In the past, HIPAA had a reputation of having very little teeth with regard to IT compliance. However, I've seen a recent upsurge of concern by CIOs, et al, with regard to being compliant. Can anyone comment if HIPAA is becomig a bigger issue?

Bob Coffield said...

Take a look at the OCR Enforcement Highlights for a more recent look at the increase in activity by OCR on privacy/security investigations. Here is a link to a post I did earlier this year:
http://healthcarebloglaw.blogspot.com/2007/04/new-hipaa-privacy-compliance-and.html

In particular follow the link in the post and then go to the Privacy Rule Enforcement Highlights and Numbers at a Glance.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

George is really a nice person. See more of him on George Clooney bio. You'll love him..