NYTimes: Hipaa’s Use as Code of Silence Often Misinterprets the Law

Hipaa's use as Code of Silence Hipaa's use as Code of Silence

Filed under our new category: Know Your Rights

July 17, 2015, The New York Times, “The New Old Age” column by Paula Span  (emphasis added)

Intended to keep personal health information private, the law does not prohibit health care providers from sharing information with family, friends or caregivers unless the patient specifically objects. Even if he or she is not present or is incapacitated, providers may use “professional judgment” to disclose pertinent information to a relative or friend if it’s “in the best interests of the individual.”

Hipaa applies only to health care providers, health insurers, clearinghouses that manage and store health data, and their business associates. Yet when I last wrote about this topic, a California reader commented that she’d heard a minister explain that the names of ailing parishioners could no longer appear in the church bulletin because of Hipaa.

Wrong. Neither a church nor a distraught spouse is a “covered entity” under the law.

Read the complete article at the New York Times website.