Determine the identity and authority of the individual requesting the information. Find out who the person is and his/her relationship to the patient. If the individual is the patient’s “personal representative” or the person has been granted a power of attorney for health care, then you may disclose information about his/her treatment and/or care. If the person is clearly someone involved in the patient’s care or otherwise familiar with the patient’s condition you may discuss the patient with the individual to the extent necessary for you to obtain relevant information to care of the patient. If you can’t confirm the individual’s relationship to the patient and the individual does not appear to have information needed for the patient’s care you should not share information with the individual. Please document the outcome in the patient’s medical record.
Best practice it to ask the patient if it is ok to discuss his/her health condition with the person present. If the patient objects you can ask the person to leave that room or the immediate area while the conversation with the patient occurs.
It may depend on the manner in which the law enforcement officer is requesting the information such as in writing through a subpoena or court order, by phone or directly in a care setting.
In writing: if a law enforcement officer serves you with a subpoena for medical records you should contact the HIMS department.
By phone or in person: if a law enforcement officer contacts you by phone or approaches you in a care setting for information on a patient (verbal, written, or electronic), immediately contact your supervisor, Safety/Security Services at x77100, or the Office of Compliance Services – Privacy at x48638 for assistance. Don’t disclose information before receiving assistance.