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Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule require that a health care provider document a patient’s expressed preference not to have the provider discuss the details of her health care with her family?

Answer:

No.  The Privacy Rule does not require that a health care provider document a patient’s expressed preference not to have the provider discuss the details of the patient’s medical conditions or health care with family members of the patient.  However, while not required, we expect many providers do so (e.g., by making a note in the patient’s medical file) as a means of ensuring the provider does not later violate the Rule by making such a disclosure. Such notes also would ensure that all current and future members of the workforce who are in a position to make such disclosures are aware of the individual’s objection.