October 2013
HIPAA revisions facilitate philanthropy

From left, Steve Jakab and Dr. Harry Sauer with Bill Jennings, hospital president and CEO, at the Grant Street Plaza ribbon cutting Sept. 11. All three are members of the Clinical Philanthropy Advisory Council.

Revisions last January to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations now provide organizations like the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation with expanded categories of patient information that can be used to encourage philanthropic support from grateful patients.

Before the revisions, HIPAA required providers to obtain a patient’s explicit permission before being approached about supporting the hospital. The revisions increase access to patient information that makes it easier to identify patients willing to support the hospital because of their positive outcomes and hospital experience.

For example, patients can be identified through their treating physicians, general department of service information and patient demographic data. However, patients also can opt-out from being contacted by the foundation.

In the coming months, members of the hospital’s Clinical Philanthropy Advisory Council (CPAC), headed by Harry Sauer, MD, Ob/Gyn chair, will be attending department business meetings along with foundation staff to explain these revisions and how they enable hospital staff to foster philanthropy. The CPAC presentations will help clinicians recognize how to identify grateful patients who are inclined to donate to the hospital and how to respond if they are approached by a patient, as well as create a comfort level for physicians and other clinical leaders to introduce these patients to hospital executives and foundation officers.

In addition to Dr. Sauer and Bridgeport Hospital Foundation President Steve Jakab, CPAC includes 10 physicians from 10 specialties and subspecialties; three nurse managers; Meredith Reuben, hospital board chair; and Bill Jennings, hospital president and CEO.