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violation or not?

HIPAA   (2,277 Views 8 Comments)
by anne919 anne919 (Member) Member

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Are you violating hipaa when you tell the patient's family that you are not allowed to tell any health info about your patient to their loved ones, but their loved ones is currently okay?

Edited by Meriwhen
TOS: correcting text speak

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

6,347 Posts; 65,371 Profile Views

HIPAA allows you to confirm a patient is in the hospital (except for a few exceptions), and their condition (stable, critical, etc).

Edited by Meriwhen
Removed reference to original (now edited) post

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

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Depends on exactly what information the patient has authorized to be released. Some patients will allow the hospital to confirm the patient's presence and general condition to anyone who calls. Other patients will restrict who can learn this info. And still other patients will not authorize ANY information, even their mere presence, to be released to ANYONE,...and yes, that would include your telling their family member that the patient is doing OK.

Check the patient's chart to determine what information they allow to be released and to who. When in doubt, it is safer to err on the side of caution and withhold info, even if you don't think you're violating HIPAA by only saying the patient is OK.

Hope this helps.

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130 Posts; 3,570 Profile Views

Thanks a whole bunch because hipaa is always hard to understand for me since I work in a nsg home. We have very limited information about pt hx and advanced directives or legal docs in our pt charts.

I even encountered an enraged pt and family members because I did not disclose anything even when in fact the caller has been authorized for the pt health info. The caller's name was not on the emergency or responsible party list so I directed the caller to our nsg director.

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 7,905 Posts; 59,591 Profile Views

It is frustrating dealing with ticked-off family members: it's a very common occurence in psych because we really stick to the privacy guns, and family members seem to believe that because a patient is committed involuntarily that the patient has no right to privacy whatsoever.

But calmly and gently remind them that while you are sorry for the inconvenience, you are required to follow the law at all times. If they persist in being abusive to you, refer them to your manager/DON.

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tryingtohaveitall has 23 years experience and specializes in PICU.

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If they have been authorized by the patient/parent to receive information, we will give it to them.

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How do you know the person on the phone is who s/he says s/he is? Suggest that at admission the approved contacts be given a "secret word" and promise not to share it; you put it on the chart or someplace near the phone where it's not visible to visitors. You can say it's because you can't have your ward clerk (or whoever) answering the phone all day long to everybody in the church group or the art classes or whatever, so there has to be one family person (or someone) to be the point person, and you will give info only to that person.

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130 Posts; 3,570 Profile Views

Makes a lot of sense now. Thanks.

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