HIPAA Law Often Misinterpreted

Based upon this article in last Wednesday’s New York Times, the medical community (and therefore we laypeople) doesn’t understand HIPAA requirements.  The article says “the law doesn’t prevent health care professionals from sharing relevant information with family members unless the patient specifically objects.”

The article refers to a fact sheet by the United Hospital Fund.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Suppose your mother is a patient in the hospital or Emergency Room.  You are her family caregiver and when you ask about her treatment, the doctor or nurse says, ‘I can’t tell you that because of HIPAA.’  That answer is wrong.”

Here’s a link to that United Hospital Fund fact sheet about HIPAA:


Personally, I think it will be a challenge to educate all the medical community about what what HIPAA regulations really mean!

Here’s a link to last week’s New York Times article.


The New Old Age: Caring and Coping
A Privacy Law Often Misinterpreted
New York Times
By Paula Span
March 27, 2013, 6:00 am

Here’s a 2007 New York Times article on the fact that health professional think they will be sued over HIPAA “violations”:


Money & Policy
Keeping Patients’ Details Private, Even From Kin
New York Times
By Jane Gross
July 3, 2007