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Am J Nurs. 2006 Aug;106(8):51-3.

HIPAA and talking with family caregivers: what does the law really say?

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Families and Health Care Project at the United Hospital Fund in New York City, USA.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (PL 104-191), known as HIPAA, has confused and unnecessarily alarmed many conscientious health care providers. Nurses in particular are likely to be on the front line of family caregivers' inquiries, because physicians are often difficult to reach and because family caregivers look to nurses as sources of reliable information. A major retraining of health care providers at all levels is needed to dampen the "HIPAA scare" and clarify what HIPAA does and does not say about communication with family caregivers.

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