1. #1
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    Default Confidentiality and Big Mouth ASSumers...

    Pick a small town, any small town, anywhere in the world. A quiet afternoon, enjoying a day with friends and coffee. Suddenly you feel dizzy and faint and decide to take your leave. The last thing you remember is saying good bye and the next you are waking up on your couch. 9-1-1 is called and the local fire department responds. Four members are in your residence at any one time, the same four members. One attending, one second, an IC and one other. You are passed off to the medics and one FF leaves the scene to get out of the way. While there are still 3 FF's remaining the medic asks a question about illicit drugs and receives an affirmative answer regarding cannabis, in a small amount. Pt was presenting as cardiac, had a history of a bad infection in one area of his body and a general unwell feeling for the past few weeks. He was transported to hospital. Fast forward two days when the pt's family recieves a phone call from a friend in an entirely different town; this friend informs the pt's family that the local firefighters are telling people that the pt OVERDOSED. This friend recieved a phone call from one of the local firefighters in that "any small town" who asked her to pass on to the pt's family that they should let the man in charge know what the diagnosis was. CONFIDENTIALITY BREACH??? MALICIOUS SLANDER??? What do you think?? Keep in mind that EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE IN THIS SMALL TOWN so talk of this kind can cause grievous injury to one's reputation. And in this small town, any small town more and more residents are becoming fearful of phoning 9-1-1 when in need for this reason as well as others. How sad.
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    Someones rear end is going to get nailed to the wall, The HIPPA people are going to rip those "Loudmouth" Non professional ignoramises.
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    Obvious violation of the Federal HIPPA Laws. Clearly an actional offense that may cost those individuals and that EMS provider hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Not at all justifying their action but relaying my personal experience. This sounds like a case of small town everyone knows everyone and let the gossip fly. Any juicy news must be circulated. Used to be sort of like that in a town I lived in. Then HIPPA came along and the threat of losing thousands in fines shut those people up tighter than a drum. Apparently no one told these people clear enough that they need to shut the hell up about what they see on calls. I'll bet they get told now!

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    Oh yeah, one thing I left out, this pt was diagnosed with a viral infection around his heart......... pretty far jump from OD.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    If I were the pt, I would sue the living crap out of either the department or the 4indvs. I hope these guys know what kind of S*** Storm they just unleashed.
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    When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

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    Thumbs down Stupid is as Stupid does....

    What kind of MAROON does something like that? What a major breach of Pt. confidentiality. Someone's gonna swing and there's a dept out there that will have lotsa egg on their faces when this is over......
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    I would not want to be in these peoples' shoes....... Be prepared for the poo to be launched!!!!!!

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    we had a problem with neighboring depts listening in and then spreading the word but we have taken care of that, mostly what we have problems with now are people in town who have them damn scanners. our dept no more than pages out for something and every phone in town it burning with the news. i bet before the trucks or ambulance get back to the station it has gotten to everyone and the facts already are turning to completely false gossip. but the fact that it was people who should know better is the worst, i have a feeling the fecal matter is going to hit the oscillating rotory device over this one!

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    First off I agree. The loudmouth rumor spreader should be nailed to the wall.

    This may not be a HIPPA violation but it certainaly violates a paitent's privacy. If the FD is separate from the ambulance and does not bill for services, they are not covered under federal law. There may be state laws that cover the situation.

    The VFD I belong to is a Medical First Responder (BLS). ALS and transport come from neighboring ambulance services. We constantly remind our members that they are not to discuss patients wil anyone outside the dept including family members. Violation of the policy will get you time off or a dismissal.

    Stay Safe
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    Default Re: Confidentiality and Big Mouth ASSumers...

    Originally posted by PFire23
    ....illicit drugs and receives an affirmative answer regarding cannabis, in a small amount. Pt was presenting as cardiac, had a history of a bad infection in one area of his body and a general unwell feeling for the past few weeks. He was transported to hospital. Fast forward two days when the pt's family recieves a phone call from a friend in an entirely different town; this friend informs the pt's family that the local firefighters are telling people that the pt OVERDOSED.
    Loose lips sink ships! Ummm....I'm not a medic or M.D., but just how does one 'overdose' on a small amount of Cannabis?

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    Note: HIPPA laws do not apply in Canada, although patient confidentiality should be paramount.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    You know Gonz, I was just getting ready to hit the reply button an say the same thing. I know that in my FD, pt. confidentiality is a priority. There is not much you can do about those out in scannerland. They will continue to be nosy, the key is to limit how much information they get their hands on.
    I believe that once the patient is able a defamation of character suit could be filed. At the very least a complaint could be filed with the government agency charged with oversite of such matters. I would hope that even though they are first responders, there is some government oversite regarding EMS.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Note: HIPPA laws do not apply in Canada, although patient confidentiality should be paramount.
    Some times I forget PFire is one of *THEM* people.......

    Like Gonzo said, they still violated that patients confidentiality.........

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    This may not be a HIPPA violation
    No if this happened in the US it is clearly a HIPPA violation.
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    Although we don't have HIPPA, we do have FOIP(Freedom of Information and Privacy Act)which is based on the same guidelines as your HIPPA I believe. I also believe (I'll have to check my facts it's been a while since I read it) that fines for breach can start at $10,000. No personal information shall be divulged about anyone. It is my firm belief that when you are in a field such as this where you are seeing people at their worst, you are gaining personal information about them, etc; then you don't repeat that information. People should be able to trust their EMS system NOT fear the repurcussions of personal information being leaked to the general public. Like someone familiar with this case said, "I don't think I feel comfortable phoning them now, what if I fall naked in the tub........ the next thing ya know they'll be talking about the size, location and shape of my stretch marks" Again, a community feeling this way is very sad.
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    Absolutely a violation and a damn shame. But to be devil's advocate...can it be proven that the information came from one of the 4 individuals? Obviously, the wrong diagnosis was spread so any of the 4 could simply say, "Of course it wasn't us, we knew what the problem was".

    Still a damn shame. and yes, I come from a small town.
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    I would have to gather more information on this incident to state my opinion.
    I think it is important to find out how the information was released.
    Obviously, the four firefighters would have to be looked at. Ambulance crew as well. Perhaps a neighbor overheard...
    In any event, I would shutter to think that people in a small community would hesitate to call a public safety organization because of a breach in confidentiality.
    I would still call them, but if any of my information got out, I would sue the pants off of whomever was responsible. Confidentiality means that. If I want everyone to know that I an abnormal discharge or whatever, I will take out an ad in the local news rag.
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    Not to start an arguement but in the US, it is a HIPPA violation only if your department is covered under HIPPA.

    If you do not meet the requirements, and billing for service is one of them, HIPPA does not apply.

    This is not a personal opinion but guidance from the Medical Director for the state and the state attorney general's office.

    Patient privacy should still be the rule regardless of the law.

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    we had a former firefighter to go and start telling tails.. about every call he made... guess what? he's no longer with the department not only did my husband get on his case...one of the patientce that he told the tail on...but him in the hospital.. i guess he got what he deserved...not that i'm for violence but i do respect the patientce's rights... it's a code that everyone should follow.

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    everyone has basically summed it up................very sad but I can see how it happens ..........she said, he said, i didnt say it .......
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    YOu may want to remind those with scanners about this...



    UNAUTHORIZED PUBLICATION OF COMMUNICATIONS

    SEC. 605. No person receiving or assisting in receiving, or transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception, to any person other than the addressee, his agent, or attorney, or to a person employed or authorized to forward such communication to its destination, or to proper accounting or distributing officers of the various communicating centers over which the communication may be passed, or to the master of a ship under whom he is serving, or in response to a subpoena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, or on demand of other lawful authority; and no person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person; and no person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in receiving any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio and use the same or any information therein contained for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto; and no person having received such intercepted communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or use the same or any information therein contained for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto: Provided, That this section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication broadcast, or transmitted by amateurs or others for the use of the general public, or relating to ships in distress.

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    I'm in agreement that there was a breach but I don't think we have enough info to be judge and jury.I CAN tell you HIPPA is NOT your friend and as responders may be a BIGGER THREAT than it is a savior.Kind of like criminal justice where the criminal has greater rights than those on the right side of the law.Someday,somewhere,the government MIGHT figure out they can't protect everyone from themselves.With the resulting savings from less rules and regs.Hippa regs have effectively hampered some of my accident investigations because of picture/documentation restrictions.T.C.

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