I am a nurse (specifically ED nurse) at a small rural facility. Recently the registration staff has been told by their management (which I assume trickled down the line from administration) that they are NOT allowed to ask a patient his/her complaint when they present to the ED because it is a Hipaa violation. Now, that being said, they were told they were allowed to let us know if there is a chest pain/sob at the window so that we can meet core measures. I was not aware of any changes in Hipaa laws that don't allow a presenting complaint to be taken at the time of presentation. I find this to be very much an issue in that #1 if registration cannot ask a complaint then how are they going to let me know if there is a chest pain or sob so that core measures CAN be met, #2 if several patients present during a very close time (and this did happen on a recent shift) how am I to prioritize care if I don't know what a patient complaint is. Point is... even if i know about chest pains and/or sob pts what about the others? I mean a kidney stone or ams would definately come before the toothache or earache that frequents the ED, regardless of who presented first. I have worked at other facilities (relatively large and small) in the distant and recent past and have never had issues such as this. Have there been changes in Hipaa regulations? Sorry, just needed to vent!