A nurse and her co-worker get on the elevator ready for a well deserved lunch break, when they enter the doctor moves over and the lady in the red dress asks which floor. One nurse replies and off they go. “Can you believe Mr. Jones thinks this is the Holiday Inn? He is diabetic; I can’t just give him cookies every time he wants?” The other nurse nods as the doctor answers his phone and says “Mrs. Smith’s has cancer, but her family doesn’t want her to know yet. I will talk to them when I get to the floor, right now I need to check on Jane Doe’s HIV screen, so the nurses can calm down.” A nurse assigned to third floor receives her assignment. Her co-worker looks over and says, “I can’t believe you have the Senator on your list. If anything good happens, let me know!” What do all these scenarios have in common? They are all HIPPA violations.

In order to understand what the infractions are, let’s take a look at what HIPPA is, why it was implemented, how to follow the rules and what might happen if you have a HIPPA violation. This is a large topic which in order to completely understand it could take pages upon pages of data. The interpretation of the rules has also changed since the initial implementation. Let’s examine HIPPA, and by the end of this brief paper, let’s hope you understand the violations in the made up scenario above.

HIPPA stands for the health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996. The Privacy Rule establishes a Federal floor of safeguards to protect the confidentiality of medical information. (Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA, 2008)

Protected health information may not be shared unless if falls within the guidelines of HIPPA. Examples of when health information can be shared without the patient knowing would be to ensure continuity of care between physicians, to regulatory agencies who certify the health care facility such as the Department of Health, if a crime is involved, or an outbreak of a communicable...

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