Health Information Management

Q&A: HIPAA privacy and deceased patients

HIM-HIPAA Insider, July 23, 2012

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A: Births and deaths are a matter of public record. In this case, it seems the risk of upsetting the family by receiving fundraising letters for a deceased patient outweighs any possible threat to PHI; so as long as no information other than that the patient has died (and the name and date) is accessed, this is okay.

Editor’s note: Chris Simons, RHIA, HIM director and privacy officer at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, N.H, answered this question, which originally appeared in the July issue of Medical Records Briefing.



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