Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

  • 1.  Suicidal Veterans

    Posted 20 days ago
    Good Afternoon,
    I had a question come up this week from our ER/CCU Clinical Coordinator.  He had a call from a physician at the VA (in Arkansas) asking questions about suicidal Veterans. One of the things she said she would like for our ER Nursing Staff to do is to ask patients if they are a veteran or have history in the military. He told her the only way the ER Nursing Staff would know if a patient is a Veteran is if the Admissions Representatives tell them the patient has VA insurance or if the patient tells them they are military. That is not a question the nursing staff would normally ask a patient. She asked that the Nursing Staff start asking patients so the VA can be contacted if the patient is a veteran and is suicidal, regardless of their VA insurance status or if they are being followed by the VA.

    I have a few questions about this.
    1/ Has anyone else been contacted by the VA about this?
    2/ Do you ask patients their military status in the ER?
    3/ Do you contact the VA if you have a suicidal Vet?
    4/ Can the VA be contacted without the patient's authorization?

    I don't know of any regulations that would allow us to do this.  If anyone knows something I am not aware of concerning the VA, the military, etc., please share.

    Thank you!

    Kayla Hill, RHIA
    Director of Health Information/Privacy