Public & Patient Resources

Consumer Information

Patient Privacy: Federal and Washington State Laws

Patient Privacy Rights:  The Right to Agree or Object to Inclusion in the Facility Directory

Patients have several rights under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  They are:

  1. The right to agree or object to inclusion in the facility directory
  2. The right to review the organization’s Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) for protected health information (PHI)
  3. The right to request restriction of uses and disclosure of PHI
  4. The right of access to their own PHI
  5. The right to request amendment of their PHI
  6. The right to an accounting of disclosures of PHI
  7. The right to make a complaint to the organization

We will discuss the right to agree or object to inclusion in the facility directory.  The other patient rights will be covered in future articles.

When a patient is admitted for care in a hospital, their name is placed in the facility directory along with their location (room number), their general condition, and religious affiliation, if any.  This mainly serves as a way for visitors and callers to find the patient while they are in the hospital for care.  The patient may request that this information not be shared, and the hospital must comply.

However, the patient should know that if they restrict that information, the hospital will not give that information to those staffing the Welcome Desk and the hospital operators answering the telephones.  They will not have the information available and will be unable to provide it to anyone.  This means that the patient may miss seeing a visitor, or miss receiving flowers or gifts.  That is always up to the patient.

If you have questions about this process, it is always your right to ask about it when you are being admitted in order to understand the process.

Jill Burrington-Brown, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA