Corporate Compliance

Q&A: Inquiring about long-term care facility deaths

Compliance Monitor, November 25, 2009

 Q: May we tell residents of long-term care facilities that another resident has died when they inquire? Should they know because they are part of the long-term care family and need to grieve and/or discuss the loss? Do we need to obtain permission from families or designated representatives?

 A: You may disclose limited information to individuals who inquire about patients by name. This would include a patient's location in the facility, discharge, or death. You don't need the family's permission to disclose this information, unless the patient had requested "no information" status.

Mary Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, answered this question in the November 2009 issue of the HCPro newsletter Briefings on HIPAA. For more information about this newsletter visit the HCMarketplace.

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