The only trapped miner to survive last week's explosion in West Virginia developed a slight fever on Monday, according to his doctors. Randal McCloy Jr. remains in critical condition, and he's still connected to a ventilator even though he is now breathing on his own. Is there any private information the hospital can't give to the press?Technorati Tags: HIPAA, Slate, Randal McCloy
Yes. Under federal privacy rules, doctors can give the press (and the public at large) only the most general information about a patient, called "directory information." They can confirm that a specific patient has been admitted to the hospital, and they can give a short assessment of his overall condition. (Most assessments are just one word—good, fair, serious, or critical.) If a patient is conscious and alert when he comes into the hospital, he's given the option to keep even this general information under wraps.
Monday, January 9, 2006
Slate on HIPAA: