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Breech of Confidential information
Jun 4, 2012

I am a medical lab tech and have been hiv positive for 10 years. I get my labs done in the lab I work in by placing the test orders in myself as to not let my status be known to just anyone. My director is the only person in the lab that is allowed to enter and see the results of all HIV testing and keeps the printed copies of these results in locked drawer in her locked office. She has never let anyone have access to these papers until now. She is on the verge of retiring and really has a who care attitude. She asked one of our phelbotomist to help clean her office and in doing so allowed the phlebotomist to take boxes of these confidential papers to the secure shred bin and hand feed them into this recepticle. My problem is this phlebotomist is in the midst of a HIPPA violation right now! Then to my dismay I walked across the hall to our storage room and there, to my total horror,are 8 computer boxes marked HIV/LEGAL and the year of testing stack in plain site with free access to all. My question is do I have enough to take legal action against my director and/or the company in which I work? I really don't feel comfortable at work now not knowing who all knows my status.

Response from Mr. Chambers

That is really a legal question that you should ask one of the attorneys on this panel. However, while this does appear to violate at least the spirit of HIPAA, unless you can show that your information was leaked to someone, it may be difficult to bring legal action.

This certainly should be reported to your director or her supervisor. The confidential information of many people appears to have been compromised, not just yours. Out of general (not personal) concern for the integrity of your lab, you really have a duty to report this and see that it is corrected.

If they are marked for shredding, is it something you can go ahead and shred yourself?

Good luck, Jacques



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