The nurse is caring for a client who has agreed to sign a HIPAA release so that her medical records can be released to her primary health care provider. The client’s pen is malfunctioning, and the nurse hurriedly takes the form with her, intending to return with another pen. The nurse then becomes involved in a code and forgets about the form. The next day, the nurse returns to work and finds the form in her clipboard. Since the client started signing just as the pen quit, the nurse decides that there is enough of a signature on the form to release the information. She sends the medical records to the primary health care provider’s office. Which violation has the nurse committed?

  • released information to the wrong provider
  • missing signature on form
  • released the wrong client’s information
  • There is no violation.
Number 2 is correct.
An incomplete signature (for instance, if the ink of a pen ran out) is considered a missing signature. The nurse should get another form and pen and have it filled out. The information was released to the proper provider; it was just provided with legal authorization in the form of a signed HIPAA form. The wrong client’s information was not released. Although the client wants the information released, the nurse has still violated HIPAA due to the missing signature.