Could I be fired due to a HIPAA breach?

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Could I be fired due to a HIPAA breach?

I’m a registered nurse in a military hospital and recently my supervisor was admitted. I accessed her medical records even though she wasn’t assigned to my care. Any information that I read wasn’t shared with anyone. I was contacted by the hospital compliance officer in regards to the situation and I gave her my statement. This occurred over a month ago and I have not heard from

her nor my access or accounts have been blocked and I’m still in my position doing my daily chores. I’m concerned of losing my professional license and any other consequences. I don’t have any warnings or job related improvement plans.

Asked on April 29, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you have a union contract which prevents you from being fired for this reason, or which requires some defined disciplinary or hearing process before termination, you have whatever rights the contract gives you. Otherwise, except to the extent you are protected by the plain terms of a contract, you may be terminated (or otherwise disciplined: e.g. demoted, pay cut, suspended, etc.) at any time for any reason, including a mistake like this. Employment in this nation is "employment at will" except as modified by a contract.


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