[ Friday, March 26, 2004 ]


HIPAA and law enforcement: According to this news story, a nurse in Milwaukee has been charged with obstruction of justice for refusing to allow a Sheriff's deputy to serve notice of a restraining order on a hospital patient. The nurse claimed that HIPAA prevented him from allowing the Sheriff's deputy to serve the notice, but he also notified the patient and encouraged him to call his wife, who had petitioned for the restraining order. The District Attorney said that if the nurse had just said, "I can't discuss the patient," or "HIPAA doesn't allow me to tell you where the patient is or even if he is here," he wouldn't have pressed charges. However, it appears that the nurse told the deputy that he had no jurisdiction there, and encouraged the patient to call his wife (which the patient did) even though the order was in effect even if not served. This was enough to push the District Attorney over the edge, and he filed the complaint.

Jeff [4:00 PM]

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