Q: Hippa-related legality surrounding my reporting a recent crime committed by a pt while using my namesake/identity.
In short, I'm a physician in pvt practice. A pt I have treated for years recently scammed a new pt of my practice out of $500. Via txt messages, he assumed the identity of a fictitious member of my office staff and contacted the patient to schedule an appt with myself (referring to me and using my name numerous times throughout the exchange). While I'm astounded that the new pt fell for it, a $500 fee (for the year lol) was collected via cashapp. Of note, the perpetrator referred the victim to me (which is how he had his name and number) though he is now ignoring the guy's calls. Also, he doesn't know that I know yet.
Despite encouragement, the victim does not want to go to the police. While I am not the victim in this situation, I feel as if a crime was committed using my identity (or at least an extension of it). Would a police report filed by me be a hippa violation? In terms of hippa, wouldn't it be akin to reporting a patient who stole a prescription pad back in the day?
A: The perpetrator arguably committed a crime by using your identity to defraud a patient. HIPAA prohibits the disclosure of individually identifiable medical information. One exception to the prohibition, however, is for law enforcement purposes, specifically when necessary to inform law enforcement about the commission and nature of a crime. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/index.html
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