Don’t Talk to the Media
Today’s “Know The Rules!” No Comment – that’s what he should have said is all about knowing when it is better to say nothing at all.
You know when your mother tells you not to do something and you do it anyway!!
What usually happens …
I don’t know about you but for me it was usually followed by – “Kimberly, YOU’RE IN TROUBLE!”
This is a case where the doctor should have listened – but doctors will be doctors!!
In February 2015, a patient from Allergy Associates of Hartford, P.C. (Allergy Associates), contacted a local television station to speak about a dispute between one of the doctors. The reporter subsequently contacted the doctor for comment and the doctor impermissibly disclosed the patient’s protected health information to the reporter.
What the OCR Investigation Revealed
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation found that the doctor’s discussion with the reporter demonstrated a reckless disregard for the patient’s privacy rights and that the disclosure occurred after the doctor was instructed by Allergy Associates’ Privacy Officer to either not respond to the media or respond with “no comment.”
Additionally, OCR’s investigation revealed that Allergy Associates failed to take any disciplinary action against the doctor or take any corrective action following the impermissible disclosure to the media.
“When a patient complains about a medical practice, doctors cannot respond by disclosing private patient information to the media,”
“because egregious disclosures can lead to substantial penalties, Covered Entities need to pay close attention to HIPAA’s privacy rules, especially when responding to press inquiries.”
“because egregious disclosures can lead to substantial penalties, Covered Entities need to pay close attention to HIPAA’s privacy rules, especially when responding to press inquiries.”OCR Director Roger Severino
Allergy Associates agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) OCR a settlement of $125,000 and to adopt a two-year Corrective Action Plan (CAP).
Something else I learned from my mother that could have helped this doctor:
“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!!”
Don’t be like that doctor – learn from their lesson. After all, that is why HHS shares the details.
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