Two Lawsuits Filed Over Alleged HIPAA Violations

Can Healthcare Organizations Use Zoho Without Violating HIPAA Rules?

Two lawsuits have recently been filed over violations of HIPAA Rules. One case involved a former employee of Mosaic Life Care Medical Center in St. Joseph, MO and the other was in relation to an alleged violation of patient privacy by a CVS pharmacy employee.

Debra Conard, 57, filed a lawsuit for being wrongfully terminated because she raised concerns regarding a violation of the False Claims Act. According to the compliant, on April 2017, hospital officials instructed her to release charges for billing with claims that were not supported by documentation nor verified to be correct.

Conard told her supervisor about the potential violation of the False Claims Act and the potential for fines. Still, she was instructed to process the claims regardless. She did so, but she added notes that the claims lacked documentation and that they were authorized to be released even though they may be fraudulent claims.

Conard was disciplined and suspended and complained about the disciplinary action, but later she was accused of a HIPAA violation. She complained again and was fired. The lawsuit states that she, the plaintiff, had access to patient information because she needed it to perform her duties in coding. She claims there was no HIPAA violation and that she was subjected to disciplinary action and suspension because of her refusal to submit claims that may have been incorrect. Conard is seeking $75,000 in damages, in addition to lost benefits, lost wages, and attorney’s fees and is looking to be reinstated.

The other lawsuit concerns a man from New York who is suing CVS Pharmacy for an alleged violation of privacy because the details of his prescription were disclosed to his wife over the phone. Michael Feinberg went to a CVS Pharmacy in Long Island to have his prescription for Viagra filled.  He personally paid for the drugs because he did want his insurance to cover it.

The man’s wife called the same pharmacy branch about another matter. An employee told her about her husband’s Viagra prescription. Because of the disclosure, the man alleges his marriage is now broken and he has suffered a significant mental and emotional injury. He claims the pharmacy violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule by disclosing his prescription information to his wife without obtaining authorization to do so.