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    KCRG-TV: University of Iowa Hospital Chaplains Not Required to Keep Information Private

    KCRG-TV reports on an issue concerning privacy at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics:

    Not so if you’re talking to a hospital chaplain. Depending on the hospital, what you tell a chaplain could be included in your – or a family member’s – medical record.

    Dayna Leichty of Little York, Illinois, learned this in March while her 10-month-old son was receiving treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. There, she was visited by a hospital chaplain. […]

    Leichty told the chaplain a variety of things she had thought would be kept confidential, including that she was pregnant. […]

    “Then it turns out that it was all written down in my son’s medical history, medical chart and it had nothing to do with his health,” she said. “It just wasn’t anybody’s business.” […]

    Since 1996, UIHC chaplains have documented information exchanged in a conversation between a hospital chaplain and a patient. […]

    Hospital chaplains are actually required by the Joint Commission, an accreditation organization for hospitals, to document information learned while visiting a patient, said Mark McDermott, former direct of pastoral care at Mercy Iowa City and now at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. […]

    UIHC hospital chaplains are not required to “notify patients or families what information they provide will be noted in the medical record,” said [a UIHC spokesman].

    Leichty believes the policy is flawed.

    “I feel like I can speak for many people that when someone comes in representing the clergy or representing a religion that it’s going to be something that you can trust will be confidential, but it turns out conversations are only confidential if they’re started with ‘Father, I have a confession,’” said Leichty.

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