Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THIS IS SERIOUS: The Care Giver’s Cheat Sheet - HIPAA law violation at its best.

In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. We know it better as HIPAA. One of the guarantees of HIPAA is that it requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. It is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans doesn’t believe in this. They created the Care Givers Cheat Sheet. Under Sara Dunn’s orders, these cheat sheets are given to the care givers and contains some of the most private personal and health information about the veteran the care giver is responsible for. All fine and dandy. These cheat sheets are to be turned in to the nursing station at the end of each care giver’s shift. So. Why are these cheat sheets found laying around the cafeteria, Kozy Korners, hallway floors, front lobby or in the various bathrooms at the Home?

You read it correctly. Anybody and everybody can pick up one of these cheat sheets and know more than they need to know about their fellow veteran living at the home. They can read about their bathroom and bathing habits. They can read about their behavior and what triggers bad behavior. EVERYTHING.

A veteran residing at the home discovered that his personal cheat sheet was found laying around and is mortified. He doesn’t know if he can ever face his other veteran friends again. I can’t blame him. I think about my presonal visits to my doctor. Would I want that information placed on a piece of paper for everybody to read. I think not.

This was brought to the attention of Sara Dunn earlier this year and she made the assurance that this would not be happening again. Well Sara, guess what? It is. As recent as the first of October, 2014, cheat sheets were found laying around. This puts you in direct violation of the law. Should any of these veterans have a court appointed guardian, did you notify the guardian that you were allowing everybody to know the most personal intricate details of their ward?

Sara, you goofed ..... again! Not only does this action show your total disregard of the veteran, it also shows that you have total disregard for the law. With these cheat sheets in the hands of everybody and his brother, it is no wonder you are now requiring confidentiality agreements with the workers and volunteers who are around the veterans.

To the loved ones of our veterans. I am sorry to be the one informing you of this. I can’t imagine your anger in knowing that everybody at the Home now has the possibility of knowing when your family member has an accident in his pants or what kind of protection he needs when going out for a smoke. For the stripping of his dignity, know that I still hold him in the highest regard. He is a veteran. He is MY veteran.

- Angry Family Member. 

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