It has come to our notice that a mental healthcare provider named Manasa Health Centre from New Jersey has been reported for revealing a patient’s personal health data and diagnosis when they left a negative review about the center. It is worth noting that OCR has fined Manasa’s $30000 for allegations that have been found to be accurate who has agreed to pay the fine as well.

The director of OCR said in a statement that “OCR continues to receive complaints about healthcare providers disclosing their patients’ protected health information on social media or on the internet in response to negative reviews.” “Simply put, this is not allowed.” A healthcare lawyer named Kelli Flaming told the media she had seen similar complaints to Manasa’ and also revealed that OCR does have the resources to investigate such issues but she always advises her clients to be aware of such “hot topics” in privacy.

She said that “Based on enforcement patterns and in the past couple of years, online reviews and social media postings … are certainly a topic that is of interest [to OCR] constantly,” and added that “It is a blatant violation of federal law to post about anyone’s health information on the World Wide Web for anybody and everybody to see, and that, in and of itself, is pretty common sense.”

Fleming added that “There are specific ways healthcare providers can ensure patient information is being protected in the realm of social media and online review responses.” while also mentioning the issue that “If somebody’s out there, and to the public, bashing you, your first intuition is to defend yourself” but “Unfortunately, healthcare providers’ hands are a little bit tied in defending themselves because of HIPAA.” She also discussed how healthcare providers should handle such situations by mentioning that they should respond with “something general, along the lines of ‘please feel free to call our office at [phone number] to discuss this matter further.'” Also, she added that “Something very general that in no way, shape, or form releases any type of patient information, or even confirms that the person writing the review was in fact a patient of the practice.”