Baby Pics Illegal in MD Offices, But Should They Be?
the MPR take:
Are baby pictures in doctor’s offices a violation of federal law? Yes, and while no offices have been fined for displaying these pictures, some doctors are erring on the side of caution and banning them from their medical practices. The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects from the unauthorized release of identifiable patient health information, and revisions to the act in 2009 boosted enforcement of these rules. Since then, concerns over patient privacy have led doctors to remove pictures submitted by patients from their offices, especially in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Mark V. Sauer, Director of Columbia University’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Care, removed a bulletin board from public sight of patients who had been successfully treated for infertility and their offspring due to privacy concerns. Other obstetric practices have created scrapbooks that patients can view, although this is still technically a HIPAA violation. Pictures can be posted if the patient has completed a HIPAA-compliance form allowing for the public display of the images, although patients rarely do.
Pictures of smiling babies crowd a bulletin board in a doctor's office in Midtown Manhattan, in a collage familiar to anyone who has given birth. But the women coming in to have babies of their own cannot see them. They have been moved to a private part of the office, replaced in the corridors with abstract art.
READ FULL ARTICLE From The New York Times