Describe the ethical issues you may encounter, as well as how you intend to approach them.

Shandra was a senior in her final semester of the Health Information Management (HIM) program at Anystate University in Smithville. She was completing her final courses, which included Trends in Health Information Management, Organizational Management Theories, and her Professional Practice Experience. Shandra was engaged to Andre, the Assistant Director of Respiratory Therapy at St. James Medical Center, with plans to marry after her graduation. Shandra was carrying a 4.00 grade point average going into her final semester and had hopes of becoming a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance specialist after graduation because she had heard that a new position was being created. She was excited to be able to complete her Professional Practice Experience at St. James Medical Center, the only hospital in Smithville, so she would be able to complete the rest of her courses that same semester, continue to live near her family and fiancé, and hopefully get her foot in the door with a chance at the new HIPAA compliance specialist position.
Shandra started her Professional Practice Experience by attending two full days of orientation with a group of new employees. The orientation sessions included information about infection control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, HIPAA, and quality improvement processes. All students and new employees were required to sign confidentiality statements during orientation.
Shandra did exceptionally well completing all of her assigned tasks during her Professional Practice Experience. She also became close with a number of the staff members in the HIM department and in other areas of the facility. She enjoyed being able to take her breaks and lunches with her fiancé and his friends from the hospital.
During breaks and lunches, Shandra overheard a variety of conversations among hospital staff. Occasionally, they would discuss interdepartmental issues, and sometimes they would gossip about hospital staff and physicians. One conversation was focused on a rumor about Henri Pioche, the Director of Respiratory Therapy. Many of the staff members present for the conversation indicated that they heard Mr. Pioche had been diagnosed with some kind of malignant condition and had been recently worked up to determine the possibility of brain metastasis.
Shandra and Andre took their afternoon break alone together that afternoon. Shandra asked Andre if he had heard any kind of confirmation regarding his director’s condition. Andre had only heard rumors, but of course, he was curious because he would be the obvious next in line for the director position.
When Shandra returned to the HIM department after break, she pulled up Henri Pioche’s records and saw that he had recently had a series of outpatient tests at the facility. She researched further and found that the most recent tests indicated brain metastasis that appeared significant. That evening, Shandra shared her findings with Andre.
The following day, Andre decided to approach Henri about the situation. He simply indicated that he had heard of him having serious health issues. Andre volunteered to help in any way possible and stated he was more than willing to cross-train to expand his duties to be able to cover in case Henri had to be gone for an extended period of time or if anything should happen that he might not be able to return, acting as an interim director until a decision could be made about a replacement.
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Henri denied his health issues to Andre. He did not want anybody at St. James to know of his condition, at least not this soon. However, it concerned him that Andre seemed too confident about his knowledge of his health status, so he contacted the Director of Health Information Management to investigate who may have had recent access to his health information.
A report was run to provide an audit log for access to Henri’s records, and the HIM department director questioned Shandra to determine why she had been in Henri’s electronic health record. Shandra knew immediately that she could not come up with a verifiable excuse, so she decided that honesty was the best policy in this case and admitted that she had looked to see whether what she heard on break was indeed true.

Write a 1,050- to-1,400 word paper that includes the following:

  • Answer the discussion questions located at the end of the case you selected.
  • Include what therapeutic approach you would apply in this case, and explain why you chose it.
  • Describe the ethical issues you may encounter, as well as how you intend to approach them.

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

 

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