1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

  1. Is anyone here familiar with HIPAA guidelines; as it pertains to what can and can't be released?
    With hospitals if we have the name of the patient, they will provide us with that patient's condition.
    In this case, I am asking state officials if a person was a patient at an old state facility. I'm asking as confirmation and to verify how long that person stayed at the facility.
    I was flatly told the information could not be given due to HIPAA. Any idea what can and can't be released in this case?
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    From what I know of HIPAA, length of stay can't be released. I believe the most you'd get is that the person was a patient.
  3. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    If HIPAA applies, it trumps your state open records law. Under HIPAA, a hospital or healthcare provider may choose to disclose nothing, or it can disclose whether a person is a current patient and a current condition, unless the patient has indicated to the hospital that information should not be disclosed.

    From what you've described, you probably can't get anything that they don't want to disclose. The key is whether the information you're looking for might also be held by another government entity that would not be covered by HIPAA and thus subject to your state's public records law.
  4. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I am SOL ... The facility is no longer open. I am looking verify the person was a patient.
    I spoke to a hospital administrator, who said they could provide the condition of a current patient (unless requested by the patient not disclose that), but not a previous patient.
  5. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's been my past experience as well. I believe they will release the current status of a patient in order to dispel rumors / panic. i.e. So that you don't have a bunch of people claiming that someone heard from someone's ex-girlfriend's cousin that Person X died.
  6. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    If the facility is closed and was a state facility, then it's entirely possible the records you're looking for are no longer in the possession of a HIPAA covered entity. I'm curious about the hospital spokesman you've been talking to. Does he work for a successor hospital? Also, how long ago did the hospital you're interested in close?
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    A hospital or healthcare provider will choose to disclose nothing unless directed otherwise by a patient. Any other course could result in a HIPAA violation, and good luck finding a hospital, healthcare organization and/or private practice that isn't just a little HIPAA paranoid.
  8. The state facility I am referring to closed in the 1990s.
    The guy I spoke with was our local hospital PR guy. No connection at all to the state facility. I was seeking his opinion on options - if any for my request.

  9. It's the other way around here.

    If Sam Mills is involved in a car wreck and transported to Hillybilly Regional I'll call the hospital to inquire about your status.
    I have to know your name. I can't fish for it.
    The PR folks will call me back and say Sam Mills is in "fair" condition. Or was "treated and released."
    That's it.
    Now they can decline to acknowledge that Sam Mills is a patient if they are instructed by the patient or his family. In that case the hospital must comply, which is something I don't agree with. IMO that's too close to lying.
  10. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    If it's something that's worth chasing, I'd try to figure out what state agency ended up with the closed facility's records and then figure out whether the agency is a healthcare provider that is actually subject to HIPAA. You very well may be able to find what you're looking for.
  11. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Philosophically, I don't disagree with you. But I would argue that any healthcare facility which has admission/patient access employees who are fairly well trained will ask if you wish to be blocked from the manifest for religion or family purposes or both. Per HIPAA, the hospital must comply to avoid the obvious litigious sh_tstorm.

    Keep in mind, in some cases, patient safety is an issue (think instances of domestic violence, etc.). Obviously, some public figures aren't terribly anxious to to disclose these sorts of issues, either.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page