HIPAA and Protected Health Information

Allen is a licensed professional counselor at a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC). A physician at a local hospital requested a substance abuse evaluation on a current patient. No cooperative agreement exists between the hospital and the CMHC. When Allen arrives at the hospital, the charge nurse gives him the patient’s chart and invites him to sit in the records area to review the patient information prior to seeing the patient. Allen sees the patient, performs the evaluation, obtains all the necessary releases, and leaves documentation with the physician. While he is there, the physician asks Allen to see another client, and the charge nurse provides him with the client’s chart.

Discussion Questions

1. What, if any, violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule have occurred here?

2. If violations were committed, who is liable?