Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You've got questions. We've got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, July 13, 2015

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Submit your HIPAA questions to Editor John Castelluccio at and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.

Q: I had a mammogram and the results were sent to someone who is not my physician and has no connection with me or my healthcare. Is this a HIPAA violation?

A: It's not necessarily a HIPAA violation. It is a breach of unsecure PHI. Unfortunately, patient information is occasionally misrouted. When this occurs, the risk associated with the breach needs to be assessed. If the risk is not low, the facility must notify affected patients and the OCR. It would become a HIPAA violation if the covered entity had not implemented the required security safeguards to reasonably prevent such a breach.

Editor’s note: Chris Apgar, CISSP, President of Apgar & Associates, LLC in Portland, Oregon, answered this question for HCPro’s Briefings on HIPAA newsletter. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions.

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