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In This Issue:
Q When looking up a patient name in BICS, what does the “Y” next to Privacy Notice indicate?
A The “Y” indicates that the patient has received the Privacy Notice. Issuing the privacy notice is a one-time event; therefore, tracking privacy notice given in BICS becomes necessary. It does NOT indicate that patient has Restricted Communications in the BWH Patient Directory.
Q Can you clarify what “Restricted Communications” means?
A In BICS, if you see “Restricted Communications-No Acknowledgement of Patient To Be Given,” this means that no information can be given to the public regarding the patient’s presence and/or treatment at BWH. The hospital will not accept any mail, flowers, or phone calls on the patient’s behalf. If inquiries are received, the response from hospital staff must be, “We have no knowledge of this patient.”
Q What can a caregiver say to a patient’s family member who calls the unit?
A Unless the patient has indicated Restricted Communications in BICS, it is still permissible to give family members the standard one-word condition indicator.
Q What other “Incidental Disclosures” are permitted under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
A Patients’ medical records may be maintained at the bedside or outside of exam rooms, placed face-down, or turned towards the wall, so long as specific clinical data is protected (i.e. inside binder). Use of inpatient logs, such as whiteboards on nursing units are allowed as long as they do not contain any specific clinical information.
Visit www.bwhpikenotes.org for a comprehensive catalog of HIPAA online resources. HIPAA is located under “Compliance Corner” on the left side of the home page. Additional questions should be directed to BWH HIPAA Project Manager Debbie Polansky at ext. 2-6676