Mass Schools/HIPAA Question

Posted on: Wed, 12/01/2004 - 2:06am
JilliansMom's picture
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Joined: 12/30/2002 - 09:00

I'm being told by my daughter's school and the town's board of ed that schools can't provide the teachers with a list of which students have a peanut allergy because of HIPAA. I thought HIPAA didn't apply to schools. They want me to either send each of by daughter's teachers a letter or sign a release so HIPAA doesn't apply. Help! Does anyone know if HIPAA applies? Where can I see the law (specifically). Thanks!

Posted on: Wed, 12/01/2004 - 4:23am
MayaLily's picture
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Joined: 07/01/2004 - 09:00

[url="http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/privacy.html"]http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/privacy.html[/url]
from what I gather from HIPAA, only health care agencies and insurance companies are considered "covered entities" I don't know if the school nurse falls under that.
if HIPAA does apply, then providing to the teacher a list of PA students *in that class* would be an exception because of this clause:
"Serious threat to health or safety. Covered entities may disclose protected health information that they believe is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public when such disclosure is made to someone they believe can prevent or lessen the threat."
"Minimum Necessary. Covered entities also must implement reasonable minimum necessary policies and procedures that limit how much protected health information is used, disclosed, and requested for certain purposes. These minimum necessary policies and procedures also reasonably must limit who within the entity has access to protected health information, and under what conditions, based on job responsibilities and the nature of the business. The minimum necessary standard does not apply to disclosures, including oral disclosures, among health care providers for treatment purposes. For example, a physician is not required to apply the minimum necessary standard when discussing a patient

Posted on: Wed, 12/01/2004 - 4:29am
jtolpin's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Is nutternomore still here?
They'd know the law, right? Help!
Jason
------------------
[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]
Edited to correct name. Thanks
[This message has been edited by jtolpin (edited December 02, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/01/2004 - 8:29am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

JilliansMom,
I would politely challenge them to demonstrate to you what language they are relying upon in which to claim that this is covered under HIPAA. I am not aware of HIPAA covering this situation (although I've not [i]thoroughly[/i] researched it).
I am aware that these situations are covered by a different federal law called FERPA.
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
If a child who has food allergies has a 504 Plan and/or an IHP, the confidentiality of that information is protected under FERPA. Additionally, parents have the right to review ALL educational records of their children.
You can read a quick overview of the law on the US Dept. of Ed. website...
[url="http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html"]http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html[/url]
Now, having said that, my understanding is that if parents provide consent to the school, that information protected under FERPA [b]can[/b] be shared under what accommodations are described in a 504 or IEP or IHP plan.
For example, in our case, we have an accommodation in our 504 plan where we provide an Emergency Treatment plan for DS (which his picture on it) that is given to the teacher and kept discreetly near the phone (in addition to another copy in his Epi-pack) to support emergency response. We have also shared it with additional teachers who would come into contact w/DS (e.g. music teacher, computer lab, etc.)
To a certain extent, the district statement that they couldn't just provide a list of all food allergic kids to all teachers is probably correct (but not because of HIPAA). It would seem to me that in order to support that effort, consent would need to be granted by parents of each student (under FERPA) in order to allow it to happen.
Perhaps RhondaRS has researched the potential HIPAA angle???
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited December 02, 2004).]

Posted on: Mon, 12/06/2004 - 11:54pm
bmacminn's picture
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Joined: 11/30/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by JilliansMom:
[b]I'm being told by my daughter's school and the town's board of ed that schools can't provide the teachers with a list of which students have a peanut allergy because of HIPAA. I thought HIPAA didn't apply to schools. They want me to either send each of by daughter's teachers a letter or sign a release so HIPAA doesn't apply. Help! Does anyone know if HIPAA applies? Where can I see the law (specifically). Thanks![/b]
i would sign the form. in work for insurance company and that seems to be the only way around it. the penalties for not complying to hipaa are pretty stiff. once again teh schools are doing a little CYA.

Posted on: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 11:30pm
pfmom2's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2006 - 09:00

I have just been asked by the principal to write a letter to all the teachers that my child will have this year (first year with specials; art,gym and music). I am suppose to write a general letter allowing these teachers to know about my child's PA because of the HIPPA laws. This is what I was told. Anyone have to do this? Any suggestions on how to go about this? I would think to just include it in a 504 plan would cover the teachers, right? Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated. We are not in a district who works well with you unless you are the squeaky wheel, kwim!

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 2:22am
qdebbie1's picture
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Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

My school tried this too, they are just trying to stall you, and hope you go away.

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2006 - 2:53pm
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by pfmom2:
[b]I have just been asked by the principal to write a letter to all the teachers that my child will have this year (first year with specials; art,gym and music). I am suppose to write a general letter allowing these teachers to know about my child's PA because of the HIPPA laws. This is what I was told. Anyone have to do this? Any suggestions on how to go about this? I would think to just include it in a 504 plan would cover the teachers, right? Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated... [/b]
pfmom2,
Thanks for raising this question again. The question about whether HIPAA applies in a school setting has been out there for a few years now, and we've never fully addressed the question here.
OK...did some fresh research on it tonight and found an unequivocal answer. The US Dept. of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, has published a "Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information". Hot off the presses (version dated 8/6/06), there is an excellent discussion of HIPAA versus FERPA (see my Dec 2004 post above). Bottom line for those who don't wish to wade in: [b]FERPA is the governing law[/b] (see my Dec 2004 post above).
[url="http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006805.pdf#page=12"]http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006805.pdf#page=12[/url]
Quoting:
Health Records: FERPA and HIPAA
In 1996, Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) to ensure continued health insurance coverage to individuals who change jobs, and to establish standards regarding the electronic sharing of health information. For purposes of HIPAA,

Posted on: Thu, 08/17/2006 - 12:47am
Rosemary S's picture
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Joined: 12/31/2005 - 09:00

Great Information, thanks for posting all of this Nutternomore! HIPPA/FERPA rules are confusing. I just want to add what I think might be an instance where the schools need to follow HIPPA, this would be when they are

Posted on: Thu, 08/17/2006 - 1:00am
jtolpin's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

I'm confused. Don't we WANT the teachers to really KNOW our children have FA's? Make a notebook, leave at desk 'Child X has FA's. DO NOT FEED' - something like that?
If I had to write a letter stating 'Please inform my teachers/school child X has allergies' I would. Is that part of a 504 plan? I think its in ours... maybe not, though.
Jason
------------------
[b]* Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Thu, 08/17/2006 - 4:38am
pfmom2's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2006 - 09:00

Nutternomore, Thank you for the great links. It is confusing. My issue is why can't I just update the 504 to include accomodations for my child for specials, therefore including all of her teachers' to be aware of the allergies. And not have to sign any waiver or write a letter to inform them?
Just so there is no confusion, not against the teachers knowing (of course want them all trained and educated about the allergies). My concern is why does the school district need a letter from me allowing them to know? Thanks for the links, off to read and read some more [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img].

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