Nursing home residents are afforded very specific rights to privacy. If the nursing home aides or administration or another resident violates those rights and the victim sustains damages as a result, the victim can sue.
Violations of privacy nursing home injury claims are a complex area of the law. You’ll want to discuss your case with an attorney to see if your situation qualifies for a lawsuit and what steps to take to hold the nursing home responsible for their actions.
Understanding Violations of Privacy in Nursing Homes
Residents’ Rights to Privacy and Confidentiality
Washington Administrative Code 388-97-0360 provides that nursing home residents have the right to personal privacy and confidentiality of their personal and clinical records. Nursing homes are required to keep all of the following information confidential.
- Medical treatments
- Written and telephone communications
- Personal care
- Meetings with family and resident groups
Also, residents retain the right to approve or refuse the release of personal and clinical records to anyone outside the nursing home. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA echoes these rights, laying down the laws that are meant to ensure, among other protections, privacy and confidentiality of identifiable health and treatment information.
Privacy Rights Infringement
In 2013, there were nearly 13,000 complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for HIPAA violations, and that figure is steadily rising, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Increased violations of privacy are largely attributed to the fact that medical records are now digitalized and electronically available (and poorly encrypted) and the presence of social media. High-profile cases, i.e., those of famous individuals, are particularly commonplace. Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum noted, “The rate of data breach is not acceptable. It’s a big deal because privacy exists in the details.”
Disclosing any information about residents’ care or treatment to unauthorized parties is unlawful. Period. Unfortunately, nursing home facilities don’t always meet this standard. Below are just a few examples of privacy violations against nursing home residents.
- Nurses who post patient information on Facebook. There have been highly publicized cases of nurses getting fired for snapping pictures of patients and posting them, or making disparaging comments about residents’ condition on social media
- Nursing home workers who leak patient information to unauthorized parties. They might give visitors updates about the patient’s status or disclose diagnostic info
- Nursing home workers who steal personal information for the purposes of fraud or identity theft
- Nurses who review resident’s files without proper authority
Not all violation of privacy and confidentiality are intentional. With cloud technologies, doctors often can access patient information remotely. Patient info can be leaked inadvertently, for instance, if the doctor’s laptop gets stolen or if hackers decrypt nursing home databases.
Legal Options for Nursing Home Privacy Violations in Olympia, WA
There isn’t a federal law that enables victims to sue specifically for HIPAA violations. However, there is a state law that gives nursing home residents the legal authority to file a suit against the nursing home for violations of privacy or confidentiality if they suffered damages as a result.
Invasion of privacy is not only disrespectful and embarrassing, but it also can be a serious cause for concern in regards to identity theft, quality of care and financial protection. If you or your loved one’s right to privacy was thwarted at a nursing home, you might be able to recover damages including the following.
- Economic damages related the breach of privacy and exposure of your information
- Damage to reputation and standing in the community
- Mental or emotional distress
Our Approach to Violations of Privacy in Nursing Homes Cases
At Ron Meyers & Associates, we understand the significance of privacy rights and the devastating impact that violations can have on nursing home residents. Our compassionate and experienced team is dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of those whose privacy has been compromised in nursing homes. Here’s our approach to handling violations of privacy in nursing home cases:
- Thorough Investigation: We conduct a comprehensive investigation to gather all the necessary evidence related to the privacy violation. This includes reviewing medical records, communication logs, and any available documentation that proves the breach of confidentiality.
- Legal Expertise: Our team of skilled attorneys specializes in elder law and has extensive knowledge of the regulations and laws that protect nursing home residents’ privacy rights. We stay up-to-date with the evolving legal landscape to ensure we provide our clients with the best possible representation.
- Client Advocacy: We prioritize our clients’ interests and well-being throughout the legal process. Our attorneys work closely with clients to understand their unique circumstances and develop a personalized strategy tailored to their specific needs. We strive to empower our clients, ensuring they are well-informed about their rights and legal options.
- Seeking Compensation: We aggressively pursue compensation for our clients who have suffered damages as a result of privacy violations. This can include economic damages related to the breach of privacy, damage to reputation, and mental or emotional distress. Our goal is to help our clients recover the financial support they deserve and hold the nursing home accountable for their actions.
- Proving Liability: We work diligently to establish liability in nursing home privacy violation cases. Through careful examination of the evidence, we aim to demonstrate that the nursing home failed in its duty to protect the privacy and confidentiality of its residents, resulting in harm and damages.
- Negotiation and Litigation: Depending on the circumstances of the case, we strive to negotiate a fair settlement with the nursing home and its insurance providers. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached through negotiation, we are fully prepared to litigate the case in court. Our attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who will vigorously advocate for our clients’ rights.
- Compassionate Support: We understand the emotional toll that privacy violations can have on nursing home residents and their families. Our team provides compassionate support and guidance throughout the legal process, ensuring that our clients feel heard, understood, and supported every step of the way.
If you or your loved one has experienced a violation of privacy in a nursing home in Washington, we are here to help. Contact Ron Meyers & Associates for a confidential consultation. Together, we will work towards holding the responsible parties accountable and seeking justice for the privacy breaches suffered.
Free Case Evaluation
How Ron Meyers & Associates Can Help with Violations of Privacy in Nursing Homes Cases
Free Consultation with a Nursing Home Injury Attorney in Olympia, WA
At Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC, we offer a free consultation to individuals and families who suspect that their loved one’s rights have been violated in a nursing home. We understand the urgency and importance of addressing these concerns promptly, and we are here to provide you with the legal guidance and support you need. Here’s what you can expect from our free consultation:
Confidential Case Evaluation: Our experienced nursing home injury attorneys will carefully review the details of your case during the consultation. We encourage you to provide us with any relevant information, such as incidents of abuse, neglect, or privacy violations, and any supporting documentation you may have.
Thorough Assessment: We will listen attentively to your concerns and gather all the necessary information to fully understand the nature and extent of the violation. Our attorneys will ask questions to clarify any uncertainties and ensure a comprehensive evaluation of your case.
Legal Guidance: Based on the information you provide, we will offer clear and honest legal advice tailored to your situation. We will explain your rights, discuss the potential legal avenues for recovery, and help you understand the steps involved in pursuing a claim or lawsuit against the nursing home.
Case Strategy: Our attorneys will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and develop a strategic plan to pursue your legal rights effectively. We will explain the potential challenges, risks, and opportunities associated with your case, providing you with a realistic perspective on the potential outcomes.
Answering Your Questions: We recognize that you may have numerous questions and concerns regarding the legal process and the potential outcomes of your case. During the consultation, we will take the time to address all your inquiries and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your next steps.
No Obligation: Our free consultation is completely obligation-free. We want you to feel comfortable and empowered when deciding whether to proceed with legal action. There is no pressure to hire our firm during the consultation. We are here to provide you with guidance and support, regardless of the path you choose.
If you feel a nursing home violated your loved one’s rights, you are welcome to call Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC for a free case evaluation. Call us today at 360.459.5600 and let us help you determine the best legal avenue for recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Violations of Privacy in Nursing Homes
Privacy violations in nursing homes refer to unauthorized disclosures or breaches of residents’ personal and clinical information in Olympia. This can include sharing sensitive information without consent, improper handling of medical records, and breaches of confidentiality.
In Washington, nursing home residents’ privacy rights are protected by state regulations, including Washington Administrative Code 388-97-0360. Additionally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides federal protections for the privacy and confidentiality of individuals’ health information.
Privacy is important in nursing homes to respect residents’ dignity, maintain confidentiality, and ensure their personal and clinical information is kept secure in Olympia. Privacy promotes trust, autonomy, and the overall well-being of residents.
Privacy violations can have serious consequences, including the potential for identity theft, compromised quality of care, emotional distress for residents and their families, damage to reputation, and legal ramifications for the nursing home facility.
Yes, if your privacy or confidentiality has been violated in a Washington nursing home, you may have legal options. You may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the nursing home for privacy breaches if you have suffered damages as a result.
If successful in a nursing home privacy violation case, you may be eligible to seek damages, including economic damages related to the breach, compensation for damage to your reputation and standing in the community, and compensation for any mental or emotional distress you have experienced.
The statute of limitations for filing a nursing home privacy violation lawsuit in Washington can vary depending on the specific circumstances and applicable laws. It’s essential to consult with an attorney promptly to understand and meet the relevant deadlines.