Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Month 3: HIPAA

Oh HIPAA. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act was designed to allow patients to get their medical records and then give them to their next provider and to protect them from being viewed and given to unneccesary persons. Now there are jobs dedicated to HIPAA compliance. Make sure to comply because the HIPAA fines have become higher and now both the employee and organization are penalized. I had a few trainings on this for my job as a public health nurse. The pass rates were at minimum 80%-90% in order to continue each part of the training.

What gets most frustrating is that I obtain medical records, usually via fax or snail mail. I often am amazed at how many organizations do not ask for the HIPAA. Though lately, they've asked for it more and more. Now I try to always send it with my request so my request is not delayed. Recently, I sent in a request with the HIPAA and I didn't realize that no everyone speaks Spanish as this HIPAA was and I had to send the English version as well so that they could be released to me.

I had a case in which the court said that all parties involved (lawyers for each biological parent, the child, and the Child Protective Services lawyer) needed "discovery" something or other. Basically, since everyone needed the same information: all medical records from life to accident and post-accident, it needed to go through one person to acquire all of them (actually the social worker, but since I have all that information to fax numbers, phone numbers, back lines of clinics it falls to me much easily) so as to not overwhelm each organization with several requests. Emergency visits are exciting at first, but the aftermath is so much work, trying to obtain medical records, going to specialist appointments, watching parents or foster parents get trained on basic nursing tasks (cleaning a G-tube, how to give the medication, etc.)

Since I'm the case manager that stays the longest with CPS kids as the public health nurse, I have to attend all the trainings and be the coordinator of information. Kids usually get an emergency social worker who decides if there is information to corroborate a child abuse report. Then the E-SW passes it on to the Investigations SW who finds all the information to corroborate the story. If there isn't alot of child abuse it goes from I-SW to the Voluntary SW. If it's a standard child abuse case it goes from I-SW to Family Maintenance/Family Reunification or FMFR as we call it. Sometimes they get an additional Adoptions SW if they are young enough to get adopted. So I end up being the person who knows these families the longest. I have one case that's just 3 months old and I've already been through 3 social workers with them. Sounds like there should be a better way, generalist social workers sometimes like how there should be generalist PHNs, but from what I know each generation goes back and forth between the two.

Anyways, HIPAA is necessary, but such a pain!

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