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Thread: Hippa Questions

  1. #1

    TV Hippa Questions

    I used to be an executive in the Mental Health field and haven't been in it for a few years. I could use some advice regarding the new Hippa laws from someone if possible. Used to, notification of next of kin was acceptable in confidentiality laws, apparently, now it is not, although I thought it was with my view of Hippa.

    Last night I got news that my mother in Tennessee had a stroke. She is hospitalized and has "dangerously high blood pressure" right now. My mom and I haven't been that close over the years for good reason but that don't change my desire to provide some help. My sister who lives in Augusta Georgia told me that she had received a call from one of my mom's former coworkers and union member. She was given limited information and upon calling the hospital, was told that because of Hippa they could share nothing with her. I am calling the hospital this morning or early afternoon to try and gather information.

    I find it strange that they would share no information with the next closest 'kin' and that information would be available to a non related union member who is in the hospital. Any catch phrases that would be of benefit to get information would be great, or any knowledge regarding how to deal with the issue would be great. My sister and I are trying to gather enough information to know how to respond and react. My sister is going up today or tomorrow, and will likely lose her job because of it. I am not sure yet as to what I will do, or how I will do it, a long story there that I could go into more detail in but prefer not to do that on a public forum. Anyway, any advice on this would be greatly appreciated as I need to help my sister as best as I can, and do what I can to help my mother, right now, the hospital is being jerks and won't share anything, we have no details at this point other than what I shared here.

    Thanks in advance and email if you would rather, mike@furches.org
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Did the friend of your mom find out actually from your mom or from the hospital? The reason they give limited info to you calling in is because they can't prove that some guy who called in is her son. It would be different if your mom said call my son, here's his number, but anyone can call in and say that they're her son or daughter.

  3. #3
    Olympic Champ r.payton@att.net's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Hippa laws are ridiculous -they are supposedly for privacy but what they actually do is force you to stay with one character company for a fiscal year / The nondisclosure thing is a joke too as they can tell damn near anyone but immediate family-Indiana is breaking away from them for just reasons -

    Furches-sorry to hear about your mom.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Three years ago I had a couple of serious surgeries and the hospital gave me a pin number to give to anyone who I wanted - they would give information to anyone who had the pin number. That doesn't exactly work for someone who is admitted unexpectedly and can't give the information to their next of kin, but the hospital must have some system.
    "All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind." -- Abraham Lincoln

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    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Sorry to hear about your Mom Mike. I was down this road with my Mom just under 2 years ago. I hope it isn't a serious one and she recovers quickly.

    Does she have a living will? You need to get that to the hospital and it may contain info on who may make decisions on her behalf. Blue is right about not giving information over the phone so you need to get there and talk to the nurses and docs.

    Since she was admitted under an emergency she probably wasn't able to convey permission to release information about her condition. However, if she is coherent she may be able to give it with you or sis there.

    As for you sis, look into the Familiy Leave Act laws in her state. She may well be entitled to time off without loss of position for care an immediate family member.

    Here's info on the federal law. I know several states have adopted even broader laws. NJ and CA will actually provide income while your sis is out. The situation is a protected absense, I don't know if her employer qualifies for her to be covered, so just click on the blue "covered employees". If covered she needs to advise the employeer by phone and in writing ASAP.

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/
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  6. #6
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by bluestater View Post
    Did the friend of your mom find out actually from your mom or from the hospital? The reason they give limited info to you calling in is because they can't prove that some guy who called in is her son. It would be different if your mom said call my son, here's his number, but anyone can call in and say that they're her son or daughter.

    That's exactly the reasoning for most hospitals not giving out information to unvalidated persons or entities. Which means that without specific written authorization, the medical center may not share any medical information. If you are present, then medical personel will often ask the patient if they would prefer if family or friends were asked to leave before discussing anything medically related.

    One of the registration areas that I manage, gets calls like that all day long. The only thing we're allowed to verify is that the patient is or is not in house and where they are located within the hospital. With some exceptions. Psych patients are always "non-release of info". And any patient can ask to be non-release.....that's when we give out the pin number Bonnie was talking about. Law Enforcement can also ask that we make a patient non-release if the patient was a victim of a violent crime. Non-release meaning that if someone calls, or comes into the hospital looking for that patient, we cannot verify whether or not the patient is in house.

    Great info about FMLA for you and your sister. I would definitely look into that.

    I understand how difficult it can be to be out of town and not be able to get anything but basic info, however medical centers have their hands tied when it comes to release of info. To violate hippa, opens the medical provider up to possible legal action.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hippa Questions

    Thanks for the advice, prayers and so forth. For those that don't know my background it is messed up. The information was given to the friends who I have spoken with by the hospital staff. I did get some legal advice and as of now the hospital is required to speak to my sister and I as we are the "next of kin." In fact, they violated their own laws by not making notification to us. We are greatful as my mom has been for years a union organizer even though she is retired now. If you ever saw the movie Norma Rae, that is the story of my mom, not literally, but it could be. We do now have the pin number that was mentioned earlier and will go from there. If you pray we appreciate the prayers, I spoke to my mom today, she has a mass on her brain from the stroke, but also has had extremely high blood pressure that the hospital staff told us was "dangerously high." They have gotten that down some but also found a mass on her left lung which they are doing a biopsy on Wednesday. She has been a heavy smoker and drinker over the years so there is concern there. I guess all I will say at this point, is my sister is also one to pray for as she lives 4 hours away and has gone in to help and get more information. I have never been that close to my mom which creates some confusion on my part, but I have clearly stated that while I may have never known a mom or father as a youth, I would sure like to know one even if I am older. It was my hope that things and issues could have been healed between us, and that relationship develop, I don't know if it will or not.

    Re: FMLA, am pretty familiar with that, the issue there is that we both work for private non profit, or very small agencies. While some of those laws apply, not all do because of the number of employees. I am doing 3 jobs now, but will likely be dropping the one if things don't change this week, that will resolve some things but not all.

    Thanks again, and for those that pray, I appreciate it, for those others I appreciate the thoughts and kind words. I think some of my best friends exist on these forums from the emails and phone calls. I don't know if that is a good thing, but it is the way it is.
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    A certain amount of opposition is of great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with the wind. ~ John Neal

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