Forbidden knowledge: Denying health info to and from families is hazardous to the mentally ill
“Where is my son?!” the woman asked, panic putting an edge on her voice. She knew only that a social worker had assisted in the missing man’s release from the Louisiana inpatient facility where he had been receiving treatment. “I’m sorry, HIPAA rules do not allow me to share that information with you,” the social worker replied, leaving the increasingly frantic woman with no clue where to begin her search.
This kind of thing happens all too often, and not just in Louisiana.
During sometimes emotional testimony Jan. 20 before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Penny Blake, speaking on behalf of the Emergency Nurses Association, recounted another heart-breaking story on the same theme. A man had come into a hospital emergency room, and though his parents had been calling around looking for him, Blake couldn’t tell them he was there. Which meant she also could not get critical medical information from them that would have helped her provide better treatment. Click to continue..