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Medical Records, Admins, and FERPA, oh my!

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by DEgalRN DEgalRN (Member) Member

7,575 Profile Views; 454 Posts

So, I feel like this is a straightforward question, but I just want to make sure.

An administrator should not be sharing a medical condition that a student has with the whole school staff, correct? I mean, ideally, I should be the one who shares the accommodations and possible diagnosis (if needed) with only those teachers and admins who need to know, right?

And not only is this a "should" question, but it falls under FERPA, right? If the administrator really wants to be the one to share the medical concerns she still has to follow the rules for medical issues under FERPA because FERPA applies both to her and that information (since it's part of the educational record). Which would mean that she most likely should not be talking about the diagnosis and only to those teachers who have or interact with the student in question.

This is something that needs to be addressed, but I want to make sure I know what I'm talking about before I start something that I know isn't going to be taken well.

Thank you!

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Eleven011 has 20+ years experience and specializes in Home Health,Dialysis, MDS, School Nurse.

1,144 Posts; 14,988 Profile Views

Its kind of backwards where I work. Most of the time, admin knows of medical issues before I do so they take care of letting us know. But it is always with parental permission. I get emails the go along the lines of " We have been given permission from Joe's parents to share with you that he has suffered a concussion. Please allow him to have his water bottle in class, wear sunglasses in bright rooms and go to nurses office for rest when needed" The email only goes to me and his teachers. I have never had an admin email the entire staff about a student health issue.

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OldDude specializes in Pediatrics.

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Yes, you're correct. But keep in mind that you are not responsible for the privacy violations by others. It doesn't involve you if someone who has the right to know something about a kid passes that along to someone who shouldn't.

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454 Posts; 7,575 Profile Views

Yes, you're correct. But keep in mind that you are not responsible for the privacy violations by others. It doesn't involve you if someone who has the right to know something about a kid passes that along to someone who shouldn't.

You are absolutely correct and I need to keep reminding myself that too. We're going through some transitions, and not everyone is aware of the requirements so I want to provide some much needed education surrounding this concern.

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JenTheSchoolRN is a BSN, RN and specializes in School nursing.

2,536 Posts; 23,923 Profile Views

The National Association of School Nurses has a great page with links about FERPA and HIPAA. It can be confusing, for sure! (And FERPA totally changes at the college level, speaking as former college admin who had to go to so very many training sessions on FERPA.)

NASN | HIPAA and FERPA

(Of course, being aware of certain rules in your state is helpful as well. For example, in MA, I cannot document anything about a student's pregnancy and/or any other sexual health issues like STIs in their health record that is part of FERPA. I can made my own private notes, but they are not part of the student's record.)

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