It seems some employees at Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center violated Richard Collier’s right to privacy by viewing his medical records unnecessarily. Under the HIPAA (Health Insurence Portability and Accountability Act) laws, an individual’s medical records have been given a new level of privacy. No one in a hospital is allowed to arbitrarily view medical records unless they are directly involved in the patient’s care, or if the patient gives them written permission.
What these “employees” have done is both disgusting and reprehensible. None of these people can plead ignorance either because HIPAA law is literally drilled into your head if you work in the healthcare field. In my psychology doctorate program I am currently enrolled in an Ethics course and I had to take a 4 hour online exam to become certified in HIPAA. On top of that, we spent two class periods (6 hours) going into detail about all of HIPAA’s regulations, as well as the healthcare provider’s responsibility to protect the patient’s privacy at all cost.
Imagine someone seeing everything you’d ever had wrong with you since birth; talk about humiliating. Even without centralized records, your medical records are still pretty far back reaching in terms of history. In the technological age we live in today, the stakes are even higher, because it would have only taken five minutes for an employee to scan and post it all over the web. Make no mistake, this is a serious offense and these workers should be fired post haste.
However, it seems the employees union has plans to appeal the termination and file a grievance against Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center on the basis of unfair treatment.