At our hospital we are stating the following in training:
"Our general policy would be to not give information out over the phone
except to the patient.  However, in certain clinics and inpatient units,
staff will be familiar with the caller and with the patient's usual wishes.
Staff will be able to use their best judgment in those circumstances when
they can verify the identity of the caller and establish their involvement
with the patient's care and treatment.  Any disclosures done on this basis
would be limited to that information that is directly relevant to their
involvement in the care and treatment of the patient."


----- Original Message -----
To: "WEDI SNIP Privacy Workgroup List" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 2:04 PM
Subject: HIPAA privacy and telephone

> I would like the lists opinion on this topic.
> Patient comes to the office to have their potassium checked because they
are on a diuretic.  Later, the physician's nurse calls the patient at home
with results but the patient is not home.  Spouse answers the phone.  Can
you tell the spouse that the potassium was fine and that he/she should tell
the spouse to continue the same dose of diuretic and potassium supplement?
If you say "no, this type of disclosure is not allowed", would it matter
that we put a statment in our Notice of Privacy Practices that stated  (in
the section on Payment, treatment and  health care operations) "On occasion,
we call test results to your home and leave the results with a family member
if you are not present".  Now, obviously, we would not do this with a HIV
result but it seems like such a waste of everyone's time to play phone tag
to accommodate the one patient in a million that is actually upset because
you told the spouse what the potassium result was.  Thank you.
> Rich Fairley,
> Dubuque, IA
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