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I made a hippa violation at work. How do I protect my self if I get reported to the board of nursing?

Muenster, TX |

Last week I accidently stapled a dose form which contained a patients last four digits of social and drivers licence to another patients referral packet for a chest xray. The patient who recieved the other patients dose form immediately called the clinic and returned the form the next day. My supervisor and director was notified. I wrote an incident report and documented in the patiet's chart the incident. I feel very uneasy about the whole situation. I was told by my supervisor that the patient is suing the clinic for hippa violation. Also, the patient is reporting this violation to the state board of nursing. Will I lose my license? Will there be a black mark on my record? I want to protect myself and seeking a lawyer later this week in case something arises

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

First, a patient cannot sue for a violation of HIPAA. There is no private right to do this. Even if the patient choses to bring a claim for a violation of his or her constitutional right to privacy it doesn't sound like there are any recoverable damages because none occurred. In terms of the Board, mistakes happen and you have taken all the steps to immediately remedy the error. Although I am not licensed in your state, I can tell you in Florida it is likely that nothing would happen. You are always wise to seek a lawyer who handles disciplinary actions, and you have taken all the right steps. Best to you and don't stress about this.


Cannot sue for HIPPA and an inadvertent mistake will probably not cause a loss of license.


No private right to sue under HIPAA


In general, it is unlikely that a single inadvertent disclosure of private health information could result in the loss of a nursing license. However, Texas has implemented its own privacy law which is much more stringent than HIPAA. The Texas Attorney General can act and investigate on private complaints alleging a violation of Texas privacy law. Beginning in December of 2013, the Texas Attorney General will post a log of investigations on its website.


You and your employer are not liable unless there are damages. Since the recipient immediately returned the document, the risk of identity theft is remote to nil. The SSN was truncated and a person would need the other five numbers to make use of the SSN.