Health Information Management

TIP: Review your 'hospice' signs for cars

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 6, 2009

Keep this in mind when creating a “I volunteered at a hospice” sign for cars:

The signs would reveal that a resident at the house or apartment where the vehicle is parked has a terminal health condition. This would be considered PHI, even though the signs do not specifically identify the patient’s medical condition.

Also, from an ethical perspective, such signs could very well violate the patient’s right to avoid what can be well-meaning public reactions to the news a patient is terminal, which are often unwanted and adversely affect the patient’s right to die with dignity.

Editor's note: Chris Apgar, president of Portland, OR-based Apgar & Associates, LLC, provided this tip.

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