Watch for HIPAA Pitfalls When Involving Police in ID Checks

October 26, 2015 – In The News
Medical Practice Compliance

Elizabeth G. Litten was featured in the Medical Practice Compliance article “Watch for HIPAA Pitfalls When Involving Police in ID Checks.” Full text can be found in the October 26, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

Houston area OB/GYN clinic Northeast Women’s Healthcare has recently received attention due to a situation involving the verification of a patient’s identification by contacting law enforcement.

The clinic believed that a patient was attempting to use false identification in order to receive treatment at the facility which prompted them to contact law enforcement. When local authorities were given the license number, it was determined that the information provided was false which led to the arrest of the individual seeking treatment.

Although the individual tampered with government records and has been noted as an undocumented immigrant, some question whether the clinic’s procedure violated HIPAA regulations by disclosing protected health information.

According to Fox Rothschild Partner Elizabeth Litten, "It is not up to the doctor's office to be a cop. You need to balance quality and safety issues versus the veneer of not wanting to treat the undocumented."

This article was also featured in Part B News.