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Supposed HIPPA Violation in Pennsylvania

by Amy
(Everett, PA)

I worked at a doctors office where my future ex-sister-in-law was a patient. So I would not have to be around when she came in for her appointments I looked in the computer scheduler to see when she was due to come in. My office manager confronted me about this because we have the same last name and apparently you cannot look in someones appointments if they have the same last name as you. Anyways, matter was dropped. In the meantime, my ex-sister-in-law wrote a letter to the HR department stating I had divulged medical information to my niece and nephew, which I never did. They did an investigation and found I was in her appointment scheduling screen and suspended me two weeks without pay. And could never prove I divulged medical information. At my office we have access to hospital records such as blood work. This was not being tracked or so I thought as I have gotten my parents blood test results at their permission for them and never was asked by my office manager about this. So, after the suspension issue, I did get my mothers lab results again with her permission and they then proceeded to fire me two weeks later saying it was a HIPPA violation. I believe after the allegations brought by my sister in law they put a tracer on my computer to see what I was doing. Other employees do the same thing, look up their family's information. Do I have any chance of getting unemployment under these circumstances?

Hi Amy,

I don't know. I don't know what the specific violation was per HIPPA or the employers procedures and policies.

If you were fired for a HIPPA violation of accessing records to which you are unauthorized .. then yes it would be quite easy to win a case with computer logs.

They don't necessarily have to prove you divulged medical information .. just that you looked at information you shouldn't have and should have known better.

There is no doubt your actions could have endangered the employers interest .. HIPPA is serious business. Your ex-sister-in-law could sue the practice because your actions exposed them to the risk.

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