Health Information Management

Media inquiries

HIM-HIPAA Insider, December 1, 2008

Q. A member of the media contacts a hospital to inquire about a particular patient and identifies that patient by name. May the hospital respond to this request for information without obtaining patient authorization?

A. Yes. When patients have not opted out of the patient directory, you may provide a brief description of their condition, including whether they have been discharged.

Editor's note: Mary Brandt, president of Bellaire, TX-based Brandt & Associates, LLC, answered this question. This is not legal advice. Consult your attorney regarding legal matters.


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