Landmark Hospital of Athens located in Georgia suspended three staff members who are alleged of viewing, copying or exposing patient records. The likely HIPAA breach can be associated to a legal case that four nursing staff submitted against the 42-bed hospital on June 22, 2020. The four nurses reported that the hospital was faking COVID-19 test findings as a “COVID-19 coverup”.
The nurses assert that the hospital had five patients who tested positive for COVID-19 upon exhibiting signs or symptoms. As soon as the positive result became available, the hospital supervisor requested to conduct COVID-19 tests for those individuals once more. The nurses assert that with regard to the retests, samples were purposely collected without adhering to correct sampling procedures. They allege that this was performed purposely to lessen the odds of a positive COVID test result.
The nurses were referred to as Jane Doe and John Doe in the legal case. They want fast court involvement to prevent the hospital from hiding and mishandling a COVID-19 outbreak in the hospital. The nurses additionally would like the hospital to give up accepting and discharging patients momentarily. The nurses in addition seek compensation as they state they were unnecessarily got exposed to COVID-19.
The nurses claim the faking of COVID-19 test findings permitted the release of patients, making available beds for other patients therefore the hospital can continue billing Medicare for services and maintaining patient numbers.
The lawsuit asserts the patients who were COVID positive were not quarantined from other people and the nurses taking care of those patients didn’t receive any PPE. They further say that the air conditioning system wasn’t functioning for the time frame the patients stayed in the facility. Mobile air conditioners are employed which take the air from the rooms of patients and releases it into corridors, which heightened the probability of other people and employees being exposed to COVID-19. The air conditioning system utilizes dry hydrogen peroxide to minimize the probability of circulating contaminants.
As per the nurses, they told their issues with the hospital’s administration, however, they did nothing therefore the legal action. They state that what the hospital did has introduced a public health threat, and put patients and healthcare workers and their families in danger.
Landmark Hospital of Athens CEO Marie Saylor released a statement that the hospital administration will check the allegations and protect the hospital and its personnel against misleading and wrong claims. The hospital always gives priority to the security and wellness of patients and employees and will keep on doing so while dealing with the local effect of the COVID-19 crisis.