What constitutes a HIPPA violation?

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What constitutes a HIPPA violation?

Recently a company that provided medical services for me was contacted by one of my family members who had received my bill by mistake. The bill did not have any information regarding the services rendered to me nor did it contain any details of my condition at that time, however the receptionist gave that information to them over the phone and without my consent. The information was very private in nature and not something that I wished to have shared (it was nothing illegal, just very private). Since this has happened I have been going through an extreme amount of distress and anxiety not only because now I have to relive the experience but also because now people who have no right to know are fully informed and sharing that information with others. I am not sure what my options are regarding that company but I am very upset and feel that they stepped over the line. What can I do?

Asked on September 11, 2010 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for the problems that you are having with regard to the violations.  I would start by reporting the violation to the state agency that would be able to help: your state Department of Insurance.  It is my understanding that in Arizona the number is (602) 255-5400. Call them and see where it goes from there.  Violating HIPAA laws can lead to very steep fines. Now, I am assuming that you also want to sue on a personal level.  Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a cause of action (a right to bring a lawsuit) in some states.  I would speak with a personal injury attorney in your area to discuss the matter in detail.  He or she will be able to let you know if you have a case.  Good luck.


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