The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal
privacy rule that took effect April 14, 2003. It gives patients more control
over their health information and great protection of personal medical
records. It also gives patients a choice of whether they want to be listed
in the hospital's patient directory.
The patient directory is used to refer callers or visitors to a patient's
nurse or room. If the patient has chosen to be listed in the patient directory,
callers and visitors must provide the patient's first and last name
before the hospital can give out any information about the patient, including
the patient's location. If the patient has chosen not to be listed
in the directory, the hospital is not allowed by law to release any information
to callers and visitors, including confirmation of the patient's presence
in the hospital. Callers and visitors will be told that there is no information
for a patient by that name.
Patient Options: Opt In
If you decide to be listed in the hospital's patient directory, friends
or family calling or visiting will need to provide your first and last
name before they will be connected to your room or told your room location.
Patient Options: Opt Out
If you decide not to be listed in the hospital's patient directory,
no one (including family, friends and the media) will be able to find
out if you are a patient in the hospital, your location or your condition.
No flowers or mail can be delivered to you. Callers and visitors will
be told that there is no information for a patient by that name.