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· Times Up
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems it has gotten worse trying to get information on cases I'm investigating where the victim was taken to the hospital. I've had a shooting and stabbing this week where the victims injuries were life threatening. The best equipped trauma hospital is 30 miles away.

They either tell me we don't have that person or I get transferred between 5 people just to determine their status if they give it at all. Do y'all have the same issues? Is there any links where I can brush up on the LEO side of Hipaa requirements? These aren't suspects..they are victims. I mean if the victim would have showed up with the injuries then they have no problem calling for a LEO to respond. I just don't understand what the difference is.
 

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It seems it has gotten worse trying to get information on cases I'm investigating where the victim was taken to the hospital. I've had a shooting and stabbing this week where the victims injuries were life threatening. The best equipped trauma hospital is 30 miles away.

They either tell me we don't have that person or I get transferred between 5 people just to determine their status if they give it at all. Do y'all have the same issues? Is there any links where I can brush up on the LEO side of Hipaa requirements? These aren't suspects..they are victims. I mean if the victim would have showed up with the injuries then they have no problem calling for a LEO to respond. I just don't understand what the difference is.
Hospital workers get fired for violating HIPPA around here, it's a very big deal. If they're not absolutely sure they can give out some info, will play it safe and not disclose.

Big city hospitals where they deal with crime regularly might be more up on the rules and be willing to help. If not they won't be as familiar, will be more likely to be right lipped.

I have relatives in ER at Detroit Receiving, will see if they know.

HIPPA is federal, ought to be consistent between states, right?

Randy
 

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Randy is right. I've had issues in the past. It sucks. Sometimes you just gotta go out there. I've had nurses willing to fax after seeing a cover sheet from my department, others don't budge.

The worst I ran into as far as nurses was when I knew all pt info, including injuries. I knew she needed stitches and where, just wanted to know how many for my report. Nurse still said it was a violation. Then my buddy/coworker who is a personal friend of the nurse texted her personal number asking the info (nurse knew he's a cop - he vouched for me). Sometimes it's who you know, I guess
 

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From the medical side. A phone call is almost always a no go. You can not be positive the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are.

Knock knock
Who's there?
HIPPA
HIPPA who?
I'm sorry I can't give you that information.
 

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It's called the Privacy Law for a reason. You can't force a victim to provide info, why do you think you can force the health giver to provide it either?
 

· you savvy?
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go to the hospital with a release form for the victim to sign. if the victim won't sign they are refusing to assist with the investigation.... uncooperative victim and all that jazz. it helps to have a search warrant prepared incase they are incapacitated or deceased. if they are either, get a judge to sign the warrant and serve it.
 
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The hospitals now are so paranoid about getting sued they go overboard. If it isnt one of the mandatory reporting ones some doctors and nurses wont cooperate.

I had one nurse call security on me because I was asking for an update on a shooting victim. I asked the security officer if he was going to call a cop to come out who do you think will win?

That was my only bad experience with it and most were more than helpful. Most of the time they would not tell you over the phone unless they called subsequently to me giving them my business card and they could see I was a cop.
 

· Florist
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Since it involves victims, get a release form they signed. And for each case, go to the hospital in person, at least the first time. Document, document, document.
 
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Since it involves victims, get a release form they signed. And for each case, go to the hospital in person, at least the first time. Document, document, document.
Get The Office of Civil Rights HIPA A Privacy Rule, it may be helpful. A patients protected health care information when misused can bite more than just docs, hospitals and ward clerks - no exemptions for agencies or their employees as far as I know.

Best.
 

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I expect that, in the future, investigations will include an information release form that is signed on the initial contact at the hospital by patient, patient rep or whoever has the authority(spouse, parent, etc...) that the hospital will have on file and the investigatory will also have. Similar exists when patients sign HIPAA forms that allow the hospital to release info to the patients insurance company so it's not a big stretch. Until then, if you are getting info over the phone without something like that...you're getting lucky to get it.
 

· Times Up
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks. In both my recent cases the victim was unconscious so no form signing. I can understand the phone and not knowing who they are talking to but im needing status like are they gonna die etc.

Ive seen a nurse tell a victim "you don't have to talk with him" Well, no you don't but if you want me to find who tried to kill you then I would suggest you help. Im not talking about victims who are refusing to cooperate either.

Thanks for the link WT, im just looking for what I can be told in case the Hipaa is thrown out there. This way I can show under certain circumstances you can give me the information without violating the law.
 

· "Nothin"
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We've had the same dealings here at my agency. PM me with your email address, and I will send you a copy of our investigative demand form that we use. It cites HIPPA statutes for giving info. So far, we've gotten good compliance once we have this in place.
 

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Federal HIPPA law has/had a provision allowing disclosure to an LEO with a genuine investigation. States (like Ohio) have their own more stringent versions as well.

I do have medical release forms, don't even try to get medical records anymore, because even with a signed release, I still have problems from Columbus and the local hospital records departments.

Instead, I explain to the victim that I will need the records in order to pursue anything, because the issues with the area hospitals whether I have a release or not, and they will not honor a subpoena either.

Now, if the victim should pass, HIPPA does not apply anymore.
 

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I expect that, in the future, investigations will include an information release form that is signed on the initial contact at the hospital by patient, patient rep or whoever has the authority(spouse, parent, etc...) that the hospital will have on file and the investigatory will also have. Similar exists when patients sign HIPAA forms that allow the hospital to release info to the patients insurance company so it's not a big stretch. Until then, if you are getting info over the phone without something like that...you're getting lucky to get it.
Maybe have the departments in the area meet with the HIPPA gurus from the area hospitals to incorporate LEO release of info and have implied consent for incapacitated patients, same a treatment.
 

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We use to have to order med. records all the time and it was always with a subpoena. With HIPPA, we had to add a form signed by the judge despite the fact that the judge signed off on the subpoena. Psychologists in private practice were always a problem. Our cases were in the prosecution stage so I never had to check welfare on the victim at that time. Working for the state now as a non-LE Inv. we deal with a lot of schools and apartments and they can be just as much of a hassle as medical places and yeah they are often are reporters. Phone no workee, it's almost always in person. If I am lucky they will accept my state email as proof.
 

· Come on man!!
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From the EMS side it was basically "**** HIPAA" and we'd tell you cops pretty much everything.

Now, as I'm working in a major hospital that's a level 1 trauma center, holy christ is it different. If I access a patient's chart that I'm not directly taking care of, I have to document why I was in that chart. If I don't and get caught, termination! My employer fired sixty people, yes, SIXTY, last year for HIPAA violations. As an example, last week I had an old woman come up to me in tears because she couldn't find her alzheimers stricken husband who had been there when she went home the night before. I searched for his name in my system and he was gone. I opened his chart to find out where he went and as soon as I clicked open I got the big red flag warning me about the impending ass raping I would get for being nosy. I found his disposition and promptly charted why I was doing what I was doing. I kid you not, within ten minutes my boss was calling me because IT and HIPAA compliance had called him about me accessing the chart of a discharged patient I had never taken care of.

Now you know where the "**** YOU, I plead the fifth and I want my attorney!" attitude comes from when you guys simply ask for directions to the bathroom while in a hospital.

Part of it is also what I call the Nurse Ratchet Attitude. Some nurses are just horrible *****es that are control freaks and generally horrible people and they know they can get pissy with you inside the hospital and wont get disciplined for it due to nursing shortages everywhere..
 

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They cant ignore a subpoena. It is a court document ordering them before the court with the records. We did that a few times with the records administrator who refused to honor a signed release. Just put her name on the subpoena and made her appear and produce. Never had a records request denied in court.

My best example is this: responded to an accident with injuries. Female driver of a group home said that it was a group home van, occupied by those with mental disabilities. Absolutely refused to provide me the injured's name or birthday or address because it was a HIPAA violation. Um no. Telling me they have a mental disability is more of a HIPAA violation than giving me a name so I can fill out an accident report. I ended up charging her with RDO over it.
 
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