Samantha Learns about HIPAA
Samantha is a new nursing assistant at Highview Care Facility, a long-term care facility for elderly residents. She is meeting with her supervisor, Mrs. Gardner, to review the information she needs to know about privacy laws. Mrs. Gardner explains that privacy laws are very important in care facilities. The privacy laws are often called HIPAA, which is short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act ensures that people who work in the facility will not share private information about the residents.
Mrs. Gardner explains, “You should share information about a resident’s care only with others who are also involved with taking care of that resident.”
Samantha asks, “Who will those people be?”
“The supervising physician, the nurses, and other nursing assistants for that particular resident, for example. Only those people directly caring for a resident,” Mrs. Gardner says.
“Are there other things I should know about HIPAA?” Samantha asks.
“Yes,” Mrs. Gardner says. “You shouldn’t discuss a resident’s care plan or symptoms with anyone in a public place or on social media sites. Also, you should always log off the computer after you enter information into a resident’s chart.”
“I understand,” Samantha says. “What if a resident’s family member asks about the care plan, but I’m not sure if that person has the right to know the information?”
“Always tell the family member that he or she needs to ask the supervising nurse. The nurse can check on whether that person is approved or not.”
Samantha nods. “Thank you for telling me more about HIPAA, Mrs. Gardner.”
“You’re welcome,” Mrs. Gardner says. “Our residents trust us to protect their privacy, and we do everything we can to do that.”