Law Enforcement Access to Patients and Patient Information Web Seminar DVD
Rules governing access, requests for lab results, complex ED situations and more


Web Seminar Recorded Live November 10, 2011
Program Rated 4.7 out of 5 by participants

You look up to see a uniform or badge asking for something or someone.

The common response? Give law enforcement what they ask for. Feelings of intimidation, respect for authority, or a misunderstanding of the law may drive this reaction. Whatever the reason, well-meaning staff may have inadvertently compromised a patient’s privacy protections.

This web seminar clearly explains the state and federal laws that permit law enforcement access to patients or patient information. Case examples are used to illustrate common, but complex, situations that often trip up the best-intentioned hospital workers. Participants are provided with valuable information to bolster confidence and appropriately deal with law enforcement requests.

The DVD includes 70 minutes of presentation, 50 minutes of Q&A, and PowerPoint handouts (.pdf) to use for notes.

Recommended for:
Health information and privacy officers, chief nursing officers and nurse managers, risk managers, compliance officers, emergency department personnel, physicians, behavioral health managers, hospital legal counsel.


When law enforcement comes knocking

  • Rules of access — CMIA, LPS, HIPAA, Penal Code provisions
  • When you can and can’t comply with requests
  • Claims of obstructing justice — or is it?
  • Developing a logical process for situation analysis

Common, but complicated requests

  • When law enforcement wants to “just talk” to a patient
  • Access to adults lacking capacity, minors, patients with complicated medical conditions
  • Requests for records, lab results, discharge dates
  • Law enforcement is paying the bill — do the rules change?
  • Identity theft investigations on patients, employees, when to report

Emergency department situations

  • Patients brought in by law enforcement — suspects, victims, under arrest, inmates
  • Requests for blood alcohol tests, other lab specimens
  • Sexual assault victims, chain of evidence

When a mistake has been made

  • Breach notification, accounting of disclosures

Proactive planning — reaching out to law enforcement

  • Fostering understanding, cooperation, working relationships


Bonnie George, JD is assistant general counsel and director of Healthcare Risk with Sutter Health’s Office of the General Counsel. In this role Ms. George provides consulting services and education with a focus on the legal aspects of clinical practice, patient safety, bioethics, medical research, consent, and patient confidentiality. She also analyzes programs and practices, providing consultation in the development of action plans to achieve compliance with the law and improve risk management programs.

Pamela Lane, MS, RHIA, CPHIMS, (moderator) is vice president, Health Informatics for CHA and as such she staffs CHA’s Health Informatics & Technology Committee, advocating for the advancement of the seamless availability of health information to achieve efficiencies and improve quality of care. Ms. Lane has more than 25 years experience in health care information management both in hospital operations and in the vendor environment. She has served as director of clinical information and administrative information areas for a number of health care facilities.