When it comes to possible HIPAA violations, the difference between lawful and unlawful behavior could be relatively small, and not noticed until far after an incident has occurred. Kenneth Chanko recently wrote in to the Boston Globe to try and clarify a possible cause of violation with personal ramifications.
Chanko was responding to a story regarding the presence of TV cameras in emergency rooms in Boston. As part of a television series, ABC recorded the death of Mark Chanko, Kenneth's father, in New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2011. The source reported on the presence of similar television crews for the same network in Boston hospitals.
The younger Chanko claims that the mere presence of these crews at the hospital where his father passed away constituted a HIPAA breach because it exposed his medical information and was enacted without his consent.
"Even if footage containing my father's image had never aired, it would appear that HIPAA violations occurred at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital when filming took place without the knowledge or consent of the patient or his family," Chanko writes. "Camera and editing crews were exposed to my father's confidential medical information and his privacy was already violated."
The family claims they did not give permission for Mark to be recorded. Although his face was blurred, Chanko was clearly identifiable to his family when he was broadcast on an episode of "NY Med" in 2012. Kenneth filed complaints with the hospital after the episode aired.
An action that results in a violation doesn't have to be an obvious one, as this case shows, and medical faciltiies should be ready to contend with the problematic consequences of deals like these. As such, work with healthcare compliance consulting services to have a fulll understanding of best practices and possible risks.