My point is that there are gray areas caused by overlaps in our society over privacy and safety. People do have rights to privacy, but then at the same time, there are other forces which compel us to either voluntarily submit to a search (amusement parks, sporting events, concerts), or by statute (courts, airports, state capital). My position is that you should not volunteer your personal information if you have another option. I suppose you could try to sue Disneyland for some perceived HIPPAA violation---- good luck with that. Did you articulate a complaint at quest services so that Disney management could respond with more training on the subject? Did you take down the names of those CMs involved? Just curious since you felt so violated by the incident?
Keep in mind that even if the item in your bag falls under HIPPAA, it may also fall under state and/or federal laws concerning controlled substances. Not that Disney employees are under any authority to enforce any of those laws, but they may inquire about items which appear to be drugs, alcohol, or a weapon... and why? Because you voluntarily submitted to search that is looking for those types of items. YOU VOLUNTEERED to a search.
I'm not defending the guy's actions, I'm just saying you already agreed to a search/inspection of your personal items. I say don't ever do that.
I do. Both HIPAA and control substance laws are very much a part of my career.
These searches do not allow the employee to SHARE medical information - showing the inhaler or asking loudly about it, for any reason other than SECURITY PURPOSES is a violation of HIPAA, and likely a violation of their work poilcy as well.
As for controlled substances - 1) The CM would have to determine that the medications were for recreational use, and not prescribed. They do not have the training to do this. 2) Inhalers are not "controlled substances" as in CI-CIV, some are prescribed, in which case the CM still has no right to ask what the inhaler is prescribed for or even why the customer has it, because that is MEDICAL information and in no way a concern for security.
You are very much confusing what a voluntary bag check is, and voluntarily submitting to the rules of entering Disney property, with your perception that somehow this search allows CMs to violate HIPAA and other such laws. They do not, in any way shape or form, indicate that people are voluntarily allowing the sharing of their medical information by submitting to a bag check.
Items not allowed inside the park include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any illegal substances
- Folding chairs, with the exception of cane-chair and seat-walker mobility aids
- Glass containers, with the exception of baby food containers, medicine or small perfume bottles (under 4 oz)
- Water pistols, toy guns and replica weapons, with the exception of those sold in the Disneyland Resort
- Sporting goods or equipment (e.g., baseball bats, helmets, hockey sticks, golf clubs, bows and arrows, camping equipment, chairs, stools, tables and Frisbees)
- Weapons of any kind (including guns, knives, billy clubs, brass knuckles, nunchucks, stars and other martial arts equipment)
- Self-defense equipment (pepper spray, mace, stun guns)
- Restraining devices (e.g., handcuffs, zip ties) or any suspicious items (e.g., box cutters, razor blades, duct tape, wire)
- Items that may be disruptive (e.g. laser pointers, slingshots, stink bombs, air horns)
- Cremated remains (e.g., urns, vases, boxes)
- Miscellaneous other items (tools, fire extinguishers, musical instruments, megaphones, pots and pans)
- Professional photographers with professional cameras or recording equipment, who are visiting the Disneyland Resort with the intent to take photographs or recordings of people, Disneyland Resort properties, or icons for professional purposes must make prior arrangements with Disneyland Resort Media Relations.
- Folding tripod stands or monopod stands that can fit inside a standard backpack are permitted.
1. An employee CAN ask about a bottle, inhaler, needle, or anything else seen in the bag. Nobody is disputing that.
2. The MANNER in which the CM asks is the issue here. She or he CANNOT disclose information about the bottle, inhaler, needle - or anything else that pertains to a guest's medical condition - to other park guests. She or he cannot ask a guest to explain her medical condition in front of other guests. It's that simple. It is the CM's responsibility to take the guest aside and talk to them where others cannot hear the conversation, so as not to violate HIPPAA policies. And bouncers, the TSA and security guards all routinely do this. They will just grab the medicine, pull you to the side, show it to you and ask you about it. It's not a big deal and it's standard protocol.
Also, keep in mind in this case that the CM didn't actually ask me anything about the inhaler. She didn't read the label, ask me to tell her what it was for, or anything else. She simply loudly said "oh, here's an inhaler!" as an observation, in earshot of numerous park guests, which violated HIPPAA laws.
I don't even think the CMs can ask about a bottle unless they either suspect it's an illegal substance or a dangerous device (i.e. explosive, weapon, etc). They have no right to know why you're bringing a medication with you, otherwise.
Essentially, HIPAA states that you are only allowed to acquire the information necessary to perform your job. If they asked if I had any illegal substances in the pill bottle they grabbed from my bag, that would be appropriate and legal. Grabbing the pill bottle from my bag and showing it off means they shared that information with their coworker and any other guest who could see it. This is not necessary to their job. If they thought the bottle contained an illegal substance, they should have questions about it, and done so in a discreet manner, as Maline said.
All of this should be basic training for any security CM. Whether it is or not, I don't know, but whether or not they are trained does not change the fact that it is a violation.
[QUOTE=KellyMcG86;1057000188]These searches do not allow the employee to SHARE medical information - showing the inhaler or asking loudly about it, for any reason other than SECURITY PURPOSES is a violation of HIPAA, and likely a violation of their work poilcy as well.[QUOTE]
I put in bold the part where you said "security reasons", but isn't that the answer? Aren't the employees attempting to rule out 'illegal items' for security reasons? The Disney website spells out all of the items which are not allowed, and medicine bottles are on the list. Not that you can't take your medications inside the park. But the checkpoint is looking for illegal items, or security risks as you mentioned.
...or put them in your pocket as I said in the first post.
My point is that they should be asking if they are an "illegal substance". If you say no, and they still believe it is, then they are beyond their training and have to call in someone else to determine if it is an illegal substance. For them to ask specifically what it is is going beyond information they need to perform their job. Unless they are aware of the schedule class of each medication, they have no knowledge to determine if the medication is schedule II vs. III. They also cannot determine if the medication was prescribed to the person or not, and even if it is labeled they cannot determine if the drug in the bottle matches what is on the label.
My point is:
They DID NOT ask if what was in my bottle was an illegal substance. That was clearly not the intent of them bringing it out of my backpack. Therefore, it does not fall under them performing their duty.
They CANNOT determine medical appropriateness of medications, only if they suspect them to be illegal or not. To do this, they would have to either call in actual security who may or may not be trained, or law encorcement.
They have no reason to determine WHAT KIND of pills are in a container. Only whether or not they are an illegal substance.
Beyond all of this, and in rebuttle to every point you've made, is that they are not allowed to share that there are pills at all in the first place with other guests or coworkers (unless that coworker is helping). That is a violation, plain and simple. That is the point we are arguing - they are sharing information with people, which is against the law.
How is saying "here is an inhaler" or "here is an unmarked bottle of pills" a HIPPAA violation? Commenting on an inhaler is not commenting on your condition. How would they know what anyone's condition is unless a person told them what their condition is?
What happens if you have a glass bottle with a liquid substance inside at the checkpoint? The substance may just be water---- or it may be vodka. So if a CM says at the checkpoint, "here is a glass bottle with a clear liquid inside", he isn't saying you are smuggling booze inside or that you are a alcoholic. He's just observing an item which required further inspection.
Put your inhaler in your pocket. Put pills in your pocket. Carry diabetic needles in a tiny bag in your hand or in jacket pocket.... or be prepared to have the employees at the security checkpoint search, observe and inquire about your personal ITEMS.
I sympathize with people who need inhalers. And if it wasn't for the fact that there are people using inhalers as drug delivery methods, this wouldn't even be an issue. Logically, no Disney employee is concerned with anyone's personal medical information.