Parma Heights, OH asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Health Care Law for Ohio

Q: Can I bring a case against a VHA employee fir violation of My privacy if they are found to have violated HIPPA?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: If you believe a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee has violated your privacy rights under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), you do have options to address this violation. However, it's important to understand that HIPAA does not provide a direct "private right of action." This means you cannot sue the VHA employee directly under HIPAA for a violation.

Your first step should be to file a complaint with the VHA's privacy office or the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They are responsible for investigating HIPAA violations. If the investigation finds a violation occurred, the OCR can impose penalties on the violator.

While you cannot sue for a HIPAA violation itself, you may have other legal avenues based on state privacy laws or other federal laws, depending on the specifics of your case. In some circumstances, a breach of privacy can lead to claims such as invasion of privacy or negligence.

Consulting with an attorney experienced in health law or civil rights can provide you with guidance tailored to your specific situation. They can help you understand your rights and the best course of action based on the details of the violation and the harm you suffered. Remember, each case is unique, and legal advice should be sought to address your specific circumstances.

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