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About Social Media Abuses in Nursing Homes

If you are a long-term care provider, social media is indeed a concern. 

In December 2015, reports co-published by ProPublica and the Washington Post revealed startling social media abuses within long-term care facilities. Indeed, the findings documented 37 incidents since 2012, exposing nursing home workers across the country for posting embarrassing photos of elderly residents on social media.  In some cases, residents were partially or completely naked. At least 16 cases involved Snapchat, a social media platform where photos appear a few seconds, and then disappear.

Details of the 37 cases came from government reports, court cases and stories in the media.

An excerpt from one report on the ProPublica website: 
“In February 2014, a nursing assistant at Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Centralia, Wash., sent a co-worker a Snapchat video of a resident sitting on a bedside portable toilet with her pants below her knees while laughing and singing.”

This February at Autumn Care Center in Newark, Ohio, a nursing assistant recorded a video of residents lying in bed as they were coached to say, ‘I’m in love with the coco,’ the lyrics of a gangster rap song (‘coco’ is slang for cocaine). Across a female resident’s chest was a banner that read, ‘Got these hoes trained.’ It was shared on Snapchat.”

In the latter case, the woman’s son told federal investigators that his mother had worked as a church secretary for 30 years, and would have been mortified.
In some cases, employees have faced criminal charges.

Meanwhile, in July, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights announced that federal audits have moved into “high gear” under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Those federal audits are in addition to the inspections that state survey teams have now been ordered to conduct. 

The charts below include examples of recent settlements under HIPAA:

Compiled from government reports by MyHIPAA Guide

Compiled from government reports by MyHIPAA Guide
Pedagogy Guest Blog by author Diane Evans of MyHIPAAGuide.com

The importance of keeping patient data secure in every way has become more important that ever, including keeping patient information off of social media. 

Pedagogy offers the following courses to help education nurses, healthcare staff and administrators about the importance of keeping Patient information secure and off of social media. Click on the course name below to learn more: 

Responsibilities for Managing HIPAA Compliance - A course designed for facility administrators who are responsible for securing patient data with their staff. 
Social Media Rules for Nurses and Healthcare Providers - A course for nurses and healthcare staff that reinforces the importance of keeping patient data secure.

Interested in providing HIPAA Compliance education for your entire staff? Contact sales@pedagogy-inc.com to get started today.
Posted: 8/23/2016 1:00:20 PM
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