Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 11, 2014

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Submit your HIPAA questions to Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.


Q: If someone calls your facility asking whether you have records for a patient, is it permissible to verify that the patient was seen at your facility? Some facilities confirm or deny this if the caller provides a date of birth, while others will not divulge anything.
A: Under the "facility directory" provisions at 45 CFR 164.510(a), a covered entity may confirm that a patient has been treated and released or has died if the individual inquiring asks for the patient by name. Releasing dates of admission and discharge is acceptable if the caller has a legitimate need for that information. Generally, these requests come from insurance companies involved in payment of a patient's healthcare bill. Asking a caller to provide a patient's date of birth to confirm the correct patient is reasonable.
Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of health information at Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple, Texas, answered this question for HCPro’s Briefings on HIPAA newsletter.


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