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At the beginning of a shift, a nursing assistant discovers a popular celebrity has been admitted to a different unit within the facility. The nursing assistant wants to know what room the celebrity is currently in and to also why the celebrity has been checked in. In accordance with HIPAA, the nursing assistant’s course of action exactly should be:

A The nursing assistant shouldn’t do anything. Because the celebrity is not her resident, the care for the celebrity is none of her business. By looking through the celebrity’s chart she would be in violation of HIPAA, which could lead to disciplinary action taken against her.

Looking into health records of anyone that the nursing aid is not directly providing care for (especially for non-medical reasons) is in direct violation of HIPAA. The nursing assistant may be at risk of disciplinary action if he/she does look into the medical information. Plus, it is also a violation if you attempt to look into the information through another health care team member. The patient, regardless of who it is, has the right to privacy.