January 2009 Volume 33 No. 1

Patient privacy laws
hold violators accountable

Two new privacy laws intended to protect patients took effect Jan. 1 and impact physicians and other caregivers directly in California.

Together Senate Bill 541 and Assembly Bill 211 impose fines for unauthorized access to patient information on individual practitioners, as well as health care institutions, and create an obligation for caregivers and hospital employees to report suspected violations to their hospital’s compliance office.

Diane Meyer, SHC/LPCH chief compliance and privacy officer, said regulations to implement the law are pending but that lawful access to records, such as patient care, billing and authorized hospital operations, should remain the same. [See more]

Plenty of pluck and
lots of compassion

Harpist Barbary Grant is one of six musicians
who responds to patient calls for music. [See story]
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