HIPAA, Professionalism, and Phlebotomy


HIPAA,Professionalism, and Phlebotomy

HIPAA,Professionalism, and Phlebotomy

TheFederalLaw for Safety Equipment (Federal Bill HR 5178),states that employers should offer a secure and healthy place of workthrough establishing and implementing guidelines, training,assistance, outreach, and education. The employers are obliged toconform to all relevant OSHA regulations. Besides, the General DutyClause obliges the employers to eliminate all critical known hazards(Chaikind, 2004).

Thebill is essential in the phlebotomy field as it updated theBloodborne Pathogens Standard to comply with the OSHAOccupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.It requires the employer to provide safer medical gadgets such assharps with needless systems and engineered sharps injuryprotections. The technology assists in reducing medical assistants’vulnerability to blood borne pathogens from percutaneous injuriesthat may result from devices such as needlestick used in drawingblood from a patient. Similarly, the bill is advantageous to thepatients as it ensures that health care professionals use sterilizedand safe needles that cannot transfer cause infection. The doctor issupposed to use one needle with each patient (Chaikind, 2004).

Onthe other hand, Federal Bill HR 5178 drawback in phlebotomy is thatit requires investment of a wide range of expensive devices. Anorganization intending to offer phlebotomy services must have a hugecapital for purchasing the devices recommended by the act. Similarly,medical assistants are supposed to learn the safe use of severaldevices when handling blood research, transfusion, and donationservices. The weakness of the improved healthcare quality service tothe customer is that the healthcare professionals extend the highcost of purchasing gadgets to individual patients. As a result, thecost of blood transfusion and other handling processes hassignificantly increased.

Thebasic Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)privacy law restricts healthcare professionals from releasing givenhealthcare information identifiable with individuals to the public.The regulation controls sharing of certain information calledprotected health information (PHI). The regulations for sharingconfidential health information are valuable in phlebotomy sincemedical assistants can acquire blood donors with healthy blood.Similarly, the law protects patients from social stigma that mayarise if the public discovers they are suffering from given chronicconditions. For instance, a person suffering from Hepatitis B andHIV/AIDS might experience discrimination in public places if his orher health status is announced publicly. However, the controlledstrategy for sharing information is beneficial to health careprofessionals since it prepares them in terrorism preparedness,designing public health surveillance, launching outbreakinvestigations, planning public health research, and direct healthservices (Chaikind, 2004).

Onthe contrary, HIPAA privacy law is disadvantageous to the phlebotomyfield because unsuspecting healthcare professionals might transferblood infected with a serious defect to a healthy patient. Similarly,malicious patients may exploit the privacy law to spread dangerousviruses such as HIV/AIDS to healthy people. Besides, the restrictedinformation sharing implies that only few doctors can participate inthe research for treatment solution for an unknown disease (Chaikind,2004). Since the information is only shared under special conditions,emergency doctors attending the patient might use medicine that mightreact with the patient’s regular drugs for coping with the disease.Wrong drug administration can easily cause the death of a patient.

Lastly,the main advantage of conducting phlebotomy with maximumprofessionalism for a medical assistant (MA) is preventingcontracting dangerous disease that may result from contact withblood. Similarly, the MA protects the health of a patient by usinghealthy appliances that cannot spread blood related infections to thepatient (Chaikind, 2004).

However,the new HIPAA regulations that control professional phlebotomyprocesses handling is disadvantageous to the MAs since they have tomaster effective application of complex safety devices. Similarly,MAs are at a higher risk of being sued by clients for failing toobserve the recommended precautions (Chaikind, 2004). Nevertheless,professionalized phlebotomy process leads to significant priceincrease. In addition, the patients can only access the service inselected clinics only.


Chaikind,H. R. (2004). TheHealth Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Overviewand analyses.New York: Novinka Books.