Visitor Question

Nurse’s husband released my private health information on the internet…

Submitted By: James (Robinson, Illinois)

I had posted a comment in a public Facebook forum about the rude nurse that took care of me at our local hospital. The response was basically what I expected, living in a small town.

Then someone posted some of my private medical information, my insurance type and why I had been at the hospital. So I did some looking and came to find out the guy’s wife was the nurse that had previously taken care of me. I am assuming his wife gave him the info to post on the internet maliciously.

Is this a HIPAA violation? He had to have gotten this information from her, it’s the only way this could have happened. What is my recourse here? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear James,

From the facts you present, there may have been a violation of the Health Insurance and Portability Accounting Act (HIPAA). Your local hospital is no doubt a “covered entity” as defined under HIPAA. As such, if it can be proven the hospital, through one of its nurses, wrongfully disseminated your private medical information, the hospital might be subject to severe fines and penalties. In some cases, even criminal prosecution.

Filing a complaint is easy. Proving the nurse, and thereby the hospital, violated HIPAA will be much more difficult. Fortunately, if you have a copy of the medical information posted online, you will have a substantive claim against the nurse and the hospital. Once you file your claim with HIPAA, it will be investigated by investigators working for the federal government.

You can access the HIPAA complaint form here.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 16, 2014

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