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NFIRS EMS and HIPPA??

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  • NFIRS EMS and HIPPA??

    Our dept has its own in house reports we do, then enter everything into the NFIRS system, my question is by entering a patient's name and info into NFIRS is that a HIPPA violation? Im pretty sure its not but want to know for sure.

  • #2
    Do you bill?

    HIPAA only applies to agencies that bill.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    • #3
      No we dont do any billing we just do first response.

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      • #4
        Then it's a non-issue as HIPAA only applies to agencies that will be billing or submitting billing info to a third party for billing,
        Train to fight the fires you fight.

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        • #5
          I thought HIPPA applied to all patient information, no matter billing or non-billing. Main question is NFIRS a secure system. Im just getting frustrated filling out our reports and having to leave so much blank.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by firefighterbeau View Post
            I thought HIPPA applied to all patient information, no matter billing or non-billing. Main question is NFIRS a secure system. Im just getting frustrated filling out our reports and having to leave so much blank.
            That is common misconception. HIPAA, as example, does not apply to my fire department becuase we do not bill for our EMS response. HIPAA does apply to the parish medic units because they do bill. It's the same with the private EMS provider that I work for part-time.

            I beleive there are no issues with placing patient names and info on NFRIS.
            Train to fight the fires you fight.

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            • #7
              If this really gets on your nerves that bad, make the EMS portion of the report locked to anyone but administrators.
              Career Firefighter
              Volunteer Captain

              -Professional in Either Role-

              Originally posted by Rescue101
              I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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              • #8
                I didnt know ya could do that, kinda new to this, and havent had time to read all the stuff in the manual. It wouldnt be so bad but I feel that our reports lack alot of info, most of it gets put in but it gets deleted when it goes higher up the food chain.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by firefighterbeau View Post
                  I thought HIPPA applied to all patient information, no matter billing or non-billing.
                  That's a common misconception. For HIPPA to apply you must:

                  1. Bill patients...
                  2. ...through insurance companies or insurance clearinghouses...
                  3. ...and you must do it electronically (that doesn't include fax, BTW)

                  Main question is NFIRS a secure system. Im just getting frustrated filling out our reports and having to leave so much blank.
                  Even if HIPPA did apply to you, NFIRS is an official government reporting system; it is exempt with the common sense caveat that you should take reasonable steps to keep any NFIRS reports with identifiable patient information on them reasonably secure. Of course, you should be doing that anyway so it's not a big deal.
                  "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                  sigpic
                  The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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                  • #10
                    We use Firehouse Software. It seperates the NFIRS report and the Patient Narritive. The NFIRS report can be pulled by anyone, it contains the address, nature and the NFIRS Narritive which stops at patient contact. The Patient Narritive contains the patient's name, medical data and inverventions performed. The Patient Narritive has limited access (designated QA/QC, original author, certain administrative positions...). I am sure that other software can do this.
                    ~Drew
                    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
                    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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                    • #11
                      LAFire got it right... Wow.. Did I say that? He even called it by the right term,
                      HIPAA **NOT** HIPPA.


                      Something of a pet peeve of mine.

                      It only applies if you are a qualifying agency. Are you? You can find out by
                      reading the simple stuff at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/

                      If you do not bill, and you are responding as YOUR agency, then HIPAA does
                      not apply. Common sense of course should apply in the stead.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
                        HIPAA **NOT** HIPPA
                        Good catch! I know better and still got sucked into typing it wrong twice!

                        Common sense of course should apply in the stead.
                        I think you've just identified the problem.
                        "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                        sigpic
                        The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the info, learned something new.

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                          • #14
                            While I know that the OP and I live in different states, I think that it's worth mentioning our situation in Virginia.

                            We can NOT enter the patient's name in the NFIRS report, as the NFIRS reports have to be released upon a FOIA request, whereas a subpoena is required for the release of the patient care report. I would suspect that many other states fall under the same guidelines, and caution should be used when placing the patient's name on the NFIRS report.

                            This is outside of requirements that HIPAA may our may not have locally.
                            Career Fire Captain
                            Volunteer Chief Officer


                            Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
                              We can NOT enter the patient's name in the NFIRS report, as the NFIRS reports have to be released upon a FOIA request,
                              So? If that's the level of privacy provided by your state laws, so be it.
                              "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                              sigpic
                              The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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