Privacy Officer's Roundtable

  • 1.  Disclosing PHI to divorced parents

    Posted 04-19-2018 04:20 PM
    Hi all.  We have a minor patient who is the child of divorced parents.  Both parents have shared custody.  Mom is wanting us to tell her whenever the dad makes an appointment for the child.  In our state, divorced parents retain access to the child's PHI and it's also stated in the custody order.

    Would it be an impermissible disclosure to tell mom when dad makes an appointment for the child?  I don't have any concerns with mom calling inquiring about an appointment, but not sure about disclosing it beforehand.

    David Garrison CHC,CHPC
    Compliance/Privacy Officer
    SCCE Membership

  • 2.  RE: Disclosing PHI to divorced parents

    Posted 04-19-2018 04:38 PM
    If they have joint custody of the minor, I wouldn't see an issue with providing the information if she called but I would not take on the responsibility of contacting her anytime an appointment was made. I believe that falls well outside of the scope of providing healthcare services and throws you right in the middle of what could be a messy situation. It's not your job to be an intermediary between two parents that can't communicate. Just my two cents.

    Julie Sours, MHA, CPCO, HCISPP
    Senior Associate, Information Security and Privacy
    Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights
    Chicago, IL

    The views expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

    SCCE Membership

  • 3.  RE: Disclosing PHI to divorced parents

    Posted 04-19-2018 04:45 PM
    I would agree not to get involved with the issues between parents.  I am aware of a similar issue where mom wanted to know when dad made appointments, and then cancelled them, dad then asked her access be restricted or her not to be able to cancel appointments he made.  Clinic was advised not to accommodate either request due to potential liability concerns.


    Susan Dahl CHC,CHPC
    Chief Compliance Officer
    CA Rural Indian Hlth Board

    SCCE Membership