President Obama signed legislation giving a $16.3 billion boost to the Veterans Affairs Department’s ability to respond to beneficiaries seeking healthcare services, on August 7.
A Veterans Administration nurse who reported neglectful care at her facility to her lawyer says she was put on suspension and demoted for violating patient privacy protocols. Recent HITECH-HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule protections for healthcare whistleblowers, however, could strengthen the nurse’s defense.
Two recent high court rulings have added protections for corporate whistleblowers, including healthcare workers, to encourage reporting of fraudulent practices and poor patient care.
Unethical behavior can impact the integrity, privacy, and security of a healthcare record, meaning information governance efforts sometimes call for whistleblowing. HIPAA protections exist for those with the courage to step forward.