6. Maintaining HIPAA Confidentiality When Communicating with Others

Do not discuss your patients or clients with friends, family or other clients. Remember that even your co-worker may not need to have access to a clients information if they are not assigned to that clients case. Never disclose your client’s name, location or lifestyle or talk about things that occurred during your shift. Focus your conversation only on the client you are with. Never talk about other clients, their homes or any
other details of their lives.

Before your first client visit/meeting, you should know who is authorized to receive private information regarding your client’s condition or treatment. If you don’t know or if you are unsure, check with your agency before
sharing protected health information.

If your client wants information withheld from particular people, report the request to your agency’s privacy officer or safety compliance office, who will respond. Let your client know that you are not permitted to make decisions about restricting information.

Keeping conversations private: When you talk about clients to others who are involved in their care, try to prevent anyone else from overhearing the conversation. Whenever possible, hold conversations about clients in private areas.

Never give your personal cell phone or home phone number to clients. Clients must communicate directly with the agency about their needs rather than relying upon you as if you were a personal friend. You may feel very friendly toward your client, but you must remember your role as a professional care provider.

You can share medical information about your client or patient:
1. At the client or patient’s doctor’s office.
2. At the pharmacy when picking up your client’s prescriptions.
3. To a supervisor or co-workers involved in that client’s care.
4. To 911 or the hospital.
5. To a relative or friend who has authorization to receive protected health information about your client.

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