Heavenly HIPAA -- a weekly HIPAA message

May 20, 2003

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today's HIPAA message is about notifying clergy if a congregation member is in the hospital.

Question
While performing healthcare duties, I find out that a member of my congregation is in the hospital or is receiving care. Can I notify my clergy member so he/she can visit them or provide support?

Answer
Heavens no!! The Pastoral Care Office is responsible for communicating this information. A patient's religious affiliation may be listed in the hospital directory if they have not opted out of providing it. Religious affiliation may be provided to members of the clergy only.

picture disc. If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.