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Here’s The Scoop….hipaa and AMR-In LBTS…Like Invoking The 5th?

From the Futures…11/7/08….

‘ BYTHESEAFUTURE also submitted a two-page list of questions to AMR , the private transport company hired by the town to provide emergency medical services, concerning their response to the near-drowning incident on October 25. AMR declined to comment, citing “federal privacy laws.”…

Hipaa….laws…seem to be defined to cover personal medical information…not what is being asked…by the paper or the Town….about the personnel who were responsible for the care of the victim on the 25th…and who was acting in what capacity during the incident…such as assessing the patient,giving oxygen, stabilizing victim and putting on any required strapping for transport…

If AMR is going to refuse to address this in front of the dais on Monday…it sounds like someone invoking their 5th amendment rights…and certainly will taint the residents present favorable opinion of AMR and the use of a private company for EMS verses a government entity that writes an incident report and is ready to report on their actions…as BSO has done…

Below…is from Google online….

‘In other EMS News

HIPAA: Big Bark, But Little Bite So Far
Despite receiving thousands of complaints about violations of the federal privacy law protecting Americans’ personal health information, the U.S. government has not fined a single violator in three years, the Washington Post reported in June. In addition, there have been just two criminal cases stemming from breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The federal government has received 19,420 formal complaints of HIPAA violations so far, the Post said; the most common of these have concerned inappropriate disclosures and insufficient protection of protected health information; disclosures of more details than were necessary; disclosures without obtaining proper authorization; or patients having difficulties getting their own records.

More than 14,000 of these cases-upwards of 73%-have been closed with determinations that no violations occurred or promises by accused entities to fix whatever problems they’d had.

“Our first approach to dealing with any complaint is to work for voluntary compliance,” Winston Wilkinson, head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (which is in charge of enforcing the law), told the newspaper. “So far it’s worked out pretty well.”

Around 5,000 cases remain open, Wilkinson said, some of which could result in fines. The federal government has received 19,420 formal complaints of HIPAA violations so far.

EMS is bound by HIPAA requirements.-Washington Post’–Medical-Services/Developing


‘For EMS one example would be best explained like this:

We are prevented from discussing particular details of patients that we handled in public. Such as:

Hey, remember that run we had on Joe Blow last night over on Green Street? Well he died from his gun shot wound last night after we transported him to Homer’s Hospital (Ficticious name). Dr. so and so said that his femoral arteries were too damaged and couldn’t be repaired during surgery and he bled to death in the O.R.

If something like this is said in the general public, we are subject to fines and or imprisonment and the potential for termination or suspension of our medic licenses (should there be an official complaint.) for making these statements in public. Not to mention the possibility of a family member or a family friend overhearing a conversation like this.

On the other hand, if we discuss it in this manner:

(One medic to another.) I guess that guy we transported last night passed away.

This does not give away any of a patient’s identity, medical conditions or any other means of being identified.’

More to come on Monday…Agenda Item…15 J.

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