Frequently I am asked at seminars and in trainings about families and their rights to Aunt Mandy's information. One of the biggest points of resistance to HIPAA compliance, especially among hospital front line workers, is the idea that someone calling from six states away might not be able to get information about a loved one.
We all know cases where this has happened, but we tend to forget that in spite of the concern and desire to know about Aunt Mandy, it may not be any of that person's business, and in fact that person might be the last one Aunt Mandy wants poking into her medical information. This is an old issue, but like many golden oldies it keeps making back onto the playlist. Another is the clergy who can no longer minister to his flock or print prayer requests in the church bulletin. Of course, if she wanted Reverend Finefellow at Aunt Mandy's bedside, there is nothing in HIPAA preventing him from being there, and in any case, the local congregation is not a covered entity, and how much they print in the bulletin is only governed by the limits of space and good taste.
This article, by Cindy Steltz in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, does a good job of covering some of the still lingering public concerns, and debunking some of the persistant myths. I'd like to see more of this kind of thing.