The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information—called “protected health information” by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule — called “covered entities,” as well as standards for individuals’ privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used.
Death of Celebrities and HIPAA
With the recent deaths of several celebrity musicians, media outlets have an ever-growing source of news and information; some of which is dug up in less than lawful ways. Unfortunately this media creates HIPAA breaches.
HIPAA Cases In Point
The UCLA Medical Center recently had to pay $865,500 in fines for the negligence of patient (mostly celebrity) health information. These breaches constitute a serious risk for hospitals and health centers because the information leaks are often times easily traceable. The demand for media to obtain this information, even through breaches, is high considering the public craves information on the lives of their favorite celebrities but the repercussions can be great.
Employees can be surprisingly negligent with celebrities’ sensitive information. Workers have caused breaches at major hospitals. Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles fired five employees and a student assistant in 2013. The hospital traced a breach of Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy information back to them.
Prince’s Medical Information Leak
This issue becomes relevant today considering the recent passing of Prince in April. His health was relatively fine before, and his death came as a shock to many. His death was a great mystery too many. TMZ reported Prince’s medical condition before any official public health announcements. Once again media creates HIPAA breaches.
HIPAA does not apply to TMZ. An employee of the hospital leaked the information. Consequently, the hospital is responsible for a breach of private information.
Just recently it was released that Prince died of a drug overdose but sensitive information can easily be leaked and create legal issues for health providers, especially when it makes its rounds in the news.
HIPAA Breaches Result From Media Coverage
While the demand for information and gossip on celebrities is high and can cloud better judgment, celebrities have the same rights as the rest of us under HIPAA. It is important to restrict media access to a hospital or health center and to inform employees of the legal ramifications of a HIPAA breach. Training employees is crucial and HIPAA Associates can make it easier for you through our expertise on HIPAA compliance and training.
Keep your team informed on standards of HIPAA — Contact HIPAA Associates today for your HIPAA training.