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NORTH CENTRAL HEALTH CARE 1100 LAKEVIEW DR WAUSAU, WI 54403 Jan. 16, 2013
VIOLATION: PATIENT RIGHTS: PERSONAL PRIVACY Tag No: A0143
Based on observation of the inpatient unit, review of job descriptions, and 2 of 2 staff interviews(Registered Nurse [RN] F and Administrator [Admin] A), this facility failed to protect the privacy of inpatients by moving the Unit Clerk (UC)/Receptionist desk to the center of the nursing station allowing for the potential for confidential information to be overheard by patients and visitors. Failure to protect patient's privacy has the ability to affect all patients receiving inpatient treatment in this facility.

Findings include:

A tour of the inpatient unit was completed on 1/16/2013 at 10:25 a.m. accompanied by Admin A. Admin A indicated that the desk that was situated in the center of a horseshoe shaped nurses station was that of the UC/Receptionist. There is no glass or partition that would ensure privacy of conversations.

Admin A stated that the UC desk was "recently" moved from the back of the nurses station (an area more secluded from patients and visitors) to its current location to allow for more accessibility of the UC/Receptionist.

A review of the Unit Clerk's job description revealed in part, "Arranges transportation or medical transportation service...Serves as unit receptionist, greets visitors, answers phone and takes and relays messages for all staff and patients."

In an interview with RN F on 1/16/2013 at 1:30 p.m., RN F did state that when the UC has to do insurance checks the UC will go to a different room away from patients and visitors, but states, "There is still a big HIPAA (health insurance portability and accountability act) violation."

RN F indicated that conversations on the phone can be, and are, overheard where the UC's desk is now located.

These findings were discussed with Admin A on 1/16/2013 at 4:15 p.m. Admin A confirmed that the UC no longer has to do the insurance calls, but verbalized understanding of the potential for confidentiality/privacy issues to arise.