Ministering to sick tougher under new privacy rules
Local clergy fear new federal privacy rules are hampering their ability to give hospital patients spiritual care and ministry.
"It's not as easy as it used to be to tell if any of our members are in the hospital," said John Adamson, administrative executive at Second Presbyterian Church.
The privacy regulations, which took effect April 14, protect patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. The rules come under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA.
Since the requirements went into effect, many clergy have begun to voice concerns that hospitals are interpreting the law too strictly. They say hospitals are restricting their ability to visit patients.