Q&A: Discussing patient insurance information with human resources
Q: I’m a benefits administrator, and I got a call from HR about an email she received from an employee. According to the email, the employee wanted to know why her artificial insemination procedure performed by her physician was not covered by her insurance. The HR representative wanted to discuss the case with me. Can HR intervene in this situation? Or should I talk directly to the employee?
A: Since the employee posed the question to the HR representative, HR could be involved in the discussion. To respect the employee’s privacy, it’s probably best for the HR representative to refer the employee to an individual in benefits who can answer her question directly. Ask the HR representative to give the employee your name and contact information so the employee can contact you directly to discuss coverage for the procedure.
Editor’s note: This question was answered by Mary Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS. Brandt is a healthcare consultant specializing in healthcare regulatory compliance and operations improvement. She is also a BOH editorial advisory board member. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent HCPro or ACDIS. Email your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Heidi Samuelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.