Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

Family and significent Others release question

  • 1.  Family and significent Others release question

    Posted 06-05-2020 09:45
    So I supervise the HIM department of Pittsburgh Mercy and we  provide  Mental Health/ Substance use disorder and PCP services and my question is on our release to family and significant other form (F&SO) we use the consumer (patient) is allowed to put multiple people on the form and it's used for verbal release of information only. We are trying to  decide if we could just use our regular consent instead of having two but my issue with only having our regular release is we allow consumers to put multiple people and their phone number on our F&SO form. Does anyone allow more than one family member on your release?


    Shirley Procoffie
    Health Information Supervisor

  • 2.  RE: Family and significent Others release question

    Posted 06-05-2020 09:54
    Hi Shirley,
    a concern that I have to this practice is in regards to the right to revoke an authorization. How would the hospital be able to document if patient revokes the authorization of one individual with multiple name on it? Although the revocation must be submitted in writing by the patient, the same authorization would be used and there is a high risk of disclosing information after revocation.

    Best regards, 

    Susie Furtado
    Health Information Management Officer

  • 3.  RE: Family and significent Others release question

    Posted 07-11-2020 09:05

    I was going through the posts as I saw your post and I see how this can create issues.  One organization does something similar in that they have a form which specifies to whom the facility may release info.  Just as you shared, there may be other forms, such as a request to use and disclose authorization which can lead to confusion...along with the possibility that the individual may request a restriction on the use or disclosure of PHI...then compound this with whether the individual opts out of the facility just gets more and more complicated.

    In the end the organization did away with the form and it seemed to help quite a bit.  They also, as a general rule, do not agree to any requests for restrictions by a patient.  This also helps minimize confusion by the staff on whether or not to disclose PHI.

    I saw Ms. Susie's post and was just circling back if you may have received any other replies.


    Frank Ruelas
    Compliance Professional