Does hipaa rules follow the patient after they die? I'm asking this because of all the coverage following Anna Nicole Smith's death and her cause of death being told so soon after her death. It got me wondering, for a normal person would this happen?
Also, what about the funeral home, city morgue, etc. do they have to follow they same rules as doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc?
Erin (just curious as what hipaa covers and what it doesn't)
Feb 23, '07
Confidentiality requirements do not suddenly stop just because the person has died, but that does change the "rules of the game" somewhat -- cause of death is listed on death certificates, and death certificates (like most other legal documents) are public record, filed and available for review at the county courthouse. (Like property records -- if you really want to find out who owns a particular piece of property, you can go down to the courthouse and someone will help you look that information up.) So, yes, the press and, basically, any interested person can find out someone's COD -- the difference is that, for most of us, unlike Anna Nicole, no one really cares what we died of.
Feb 23, '07
I don't think Hipaa applies to funeral homes or city morgues. Maybe, maybe if they have access to the medical record (more likely a morgue). They probably have their own privacy regulations; I just don't know. I believe Hipaa applies to healthcare providers and healthcare plans (like insurance companies).
One thing people sometimes forget is that Hipaa does not apply to individuals that are not healthcare providers. Friends, family can transmit health information without violating Hipaa.