Questions About Confidentiality and Health Related Information
How should our pastor and staff respect private information under HIPAA?
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
It is designed to keep information related to an individual’s health private. In general, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does NOT apply to churches' disclosure of health related information about its parishioners in the context of publicizing prayer requests and prayer lists. However, good taste and overall concern for privacy should be used in discussing personal health issues. If the congregation is providing health care, such as a parish nurse, the privacy rules may apply. If the congregation learns health information from insurance records for employees, the privacy rules do apply.
What information can the hospital or nursing care facility release to the pastor?
The visiting pastor may be provided with the patient’s name, location in the facility, condition in general terms, and religious affiliation as long as the patient has not objected.
For other areas of privileged communication