It’s your Call May 2018

OSHA: What is the risk of Hepatitis C infection from a needlestick exposure to a positive Hepatitis C patient?

There is .1% risk of infection after a needlestick or sharps exposure to Hepatitis C (HCV) positive blood. In the event of occupational exposure, CDC guidance suggests testing the source patient for HCV RNA which can be detected as soon as 2-3 weeks after infection.

The leading causes of Hepatitis C transmission, past and present, has been blood transfusions, shared needles among drug users, and multiple uses of single-use needles in healthcare settings. Understanding and adhering to standard precautions and safe injection practices will reduce the risks for the spread of HCV and other infectious diseases in the healthcare industry.

HIPAA: Several patients have requested a copy of their records, and the office manager has denied their request. Is this a violation?

Yes. Patients have a right to request health information about themselves. This information includes medical records, billing and payment records, insurance information, clinical laboratory test results, medical images such as X-rays, wellness and disease management program files, and clinical case notes, among other information used to make decisions about individuals.

The maximum penalty for denying patient’s right to access is $1.5 million. It is better to respond to the patient’s request as soon as possible and no later than 30 days of the request or 60 days with an extension.