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Publication of patient names to end

Posted on: 11/07/2017

Effective Nov. 17, Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital, member hospitals of Upper Allegheny Health System, will end the practice of offering local newspapers the names of patients admitted and discharged from the hospitals and the names of parents and their newborns.


“Publication of these names at rural hospitals has been routine and even a tradition for many years. However, in recent years this practice has been curtailed by almost all hospitals,” said Dennis McCarthy, spokesperson for BRMC and OGH. “After thoroughly reviewing this practice, it has been decided that Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital will no longer provide this information to the newspapers,” McCarthy said.


McCarthy explained that publishing the names of admitted and discharged patients and the names of parents and their newborns, even with permission, runs against the principles of providing privacy to all patients.


“In this day and age where security issues of every kind are in the news almost daily, we can no longer assume or take for granted that publishing the names of patients in the newspaper is safe practice,” he said. “With continued and growing emphasis to protect patient privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) most rural hospitals have ceased the practice of publishing names,” he said.


“Ultimately the practice of providing this information to the newspapers is seen as an unnecessary security risk and a privacy issue for the patients we are pledged to protect. Discontinuing this practice is the right thing to do,” McCarthy said.

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