HIPPA question for friend with POA

  1. I have a friend who has her father in the hospital four hours away from her. She has been there with him for about a week and finally had to go home. She keeps calling to get info. but the nurses won't say anything other than he is "stable" and "resting comfortably". She has power of attorney and faxed them the document. Is there any way she can find out what is REALLY going on with her dad or is HIPPA preventing this? She is all he has and is really concerned about him.
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    Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 5,926; Likes: 15


  3. by   suzanne4
    Has she tried phoning her father's doctor and having him/her tell the staff that is okay to release info to her. Sounds like the staff on that floor have had a problem in the past with giving out too much information to the wrong person.

    Also, if she phones her father in the room and he has the nurse come in and tell her it is okay to give her the info that she is out of town. The friend can then call that nurse back at the desk for more info.

    Perhaps these suggestions can help................
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    Thank you! I will let her know. I did ask her if they had her father sign something when he was admitted saying it was okay to give her the info. and haven't gotten an answer yet. That's what we had to do for my son when he was in the hospital.

    Seems the POA should give her free access I would think, but I don't know all the rules of HIPPA yet.
  5. by   CIRQL8
    One of the requirements of HIPPA is to have a "HIIPA officer" Have your friend contact the HIPPA officer, have them inform the nursing staff that she has the right to be told info about her dad. (and I believe that she does, esp. w/ POA)

    Hoipe I've been helpful

  6. by   Energizer Bunny
    THank you!!! I am sending your suggestions on to her right now!
  7. by   Nurse Ratched
    It is also important to understand the differences between fiancial power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and health care representative. You should ideally invest someone with health care representative status for maximum ability to have the person speak for you and receive information in the event of a disabling illness.

    Sometimes people think because they have a financial power of attorney, that means they can do all sorts of other things, and the fact is, it's for check writing and other money-related stuff, etc., not health care decisions, unless specifically named as such in a durable power of attorney (something that is not automatically revoked in the case of the other person's incapacitation.)
  8. by   elkpark
    ditto, Nurse Ratched, and it is also important to understand the function of a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Many folks seem to believe that it is some sort of automatic guarantee of full access/involvement, similar to a guardianship.

    A valid DPOA for healthcare only authorizes the named person to make healthcare decisions for the (patient) in the event that the patient becomes incapable of making and communicating healthcare-related decisions for her/himself. Until the patient is incapable of that, the POA is just a piece of paper, with no meaning or power whatsoever. At whatever time the patient again becomes capable of exercising her/his own judgment, the POA again becomes just a piece of paper.

    It does not provide any special access to protected information under HIPAA, unless it is in force and the daughter in the OP's example is actually making decisions for her (incapacitated) father, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.
  9. by   TweetiePieRN
    Quote from CNM2B
    Seems the POA should give her free access I would think, but I don't know all the rules of HIPPA yet.
    Unfortunately, when taking calls via the phone...you never know who you are REALLY talking to on the other end. All this legal stuff is very scary!!
  10. by   BuffaloLPN
    we require a medical record number when someone is callling for info. The pt/parent can give this number to people they will allow to call for info. Many parents have freaked when we won't tell them anything when they call after leaving, but we offer MR# on admission to parent(guardian) and usually not a big deal when you explain WHY we don't just give out info to anyone without that number
  11. by   Energizer Bunny
    THank you all sooo much!!!! Where she is really frustrated is that they never questioned her being on the ICU floor when she was there....they didn't even ask her if she had a relative/friend there or anything so now them being so hush hush on the phone is driving her bananas. I think the fact that she left without them even mentioning what she could and couldn't do to get info. is a little odd, too. Granted, she probably should have asked but I think went under the assumption that she would be able to find out what was going on since she wasn't told otherwise. Oh, this is very confusing. I am copying and sending all your messages on to her. Thank you all!

    And BuffaloLPN..in Warren, PA they have that number that you have to have to get info. too but not in Jamestown, NY. Weird...seems like it would be a really good idea to do in all hospitals. What are the chances of guessing the number?
  12. by   BuffaloLPN
    all pts have a record number. it's what the hospital uses to id, bill etc. it is on every chart, sticker etc. Admission forms, instructions, anything with pt major info is stamped with the number.
    We have the same problem- some nurses ask for it, some don't. So a family member may call and get info a hundred times, until the one nurse who does follow rules asks for it and gets screamed at by the family
  13. by   Energizer Bunny
    But the family wasn't even told about the number in this case. This is why she is frustrated. I am not attacking the nurses in any way...just trying to help a friend. She did say that she was going to mention to them about the number when she is able to get back there, but doesn't know exactly when that will be.