Q&A: Hospital employee obtaining a return-to-work note

May 16, 2019
Medicare Web

Q: I’m a registered nurse, and I received treatment at the ER of the hospital where I work. I called my supervisor from the ER and told her I wouldn’t be able to work my evening shift because of the emergency, and she asked that I get a return-to-work note from the physician. I forgot to do so during the ER visit, but I obtained one the next day. When I did, the physician told me that my supervisor called her the previous evening and asked if I had asked for the note. Is this a HIPAA violation?

A. Yes. Your supervisor should not have called the physician without your authorization. You were a patient at the hospital in this instance and not acting in the capacity of an employee.


Editor's note: This question was answered by Chris Apgar, CISSP. Apgar is president of Apgar & Associates, LLC, in Portland, Oregon. He is also a BOH editorial advisory board member. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent HCPro or ACDIS. Email your HIPAA questions to editor Heidi Samuelson at hsamuelson@hcpro.com.

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Ask the Expert, HIM/HIPAA, HIPAA