HIPAA quizzes test basics

Employees at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, enjoy quick e-mail quizzes that test their knowledge of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements and give them a chance to win stuffed hippos. "While the idea for the e-mail quizzes came from a consultant, we created our own content based upon employee suggestions," explains Kathleen Graham, JD, LLM, HIPAA privacy officer and director of corporate compliance and privacy for Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL. Some of the quiz questions included:

Question: Baby Bubba is the son of famous country music singer Big Bubba. Baby Bubba is visiting Children’s Health System for a checkup. The media have been attempting to contact you to ask questions about the Bubbas. One local TV station, promoter of the Big Bubba fan club, even wants to stop by to see Baby Bubba. What should you do?

Answer: Stop, think, and clarify the HIPAA consequences. Famous people and their children have HIPAA rights. Talk to Big Bubba to let him know what is happening. Please follow Children’s policy and call Media Relations for assistance.

Question: You go to church with the Bubbas. Many people at your church saw patient Baby Bubba and Children’s in the news last week. They are asking you questions at the service about Baby Bubba because they know you work at Children’s. They would like to pray for the Bubbas, who aren’t there that day. How do you respond?

Answer: Tell them that they need to talk with the Bubbas to find out any information. HIPAA applies in the church setting. Sharing confidential patient information — even prayers — can be a breach of confidentiality. Although these people are genuinely concerned and their intent is good, they have no "need to know" confidential patient information because of Baby Bubba’s privacy rights.

Question: What should you do if you are talking with a patient/parent in a semiprivate patient area?

Answer: Pull privacy curtains, lower your voice, and be discreet.

Question: What should you do if you are in an elevator and others are discussing a patient?

Answer: Politely remind them to respect patient privacy.