HIPPA vs. Adoption Privacy
About a month ago, a reader of this blog sent me an inquiry from the front lines. This social worker is experiencing a conflict between HIPPA and adoption privacy. She asked me to ask you for your professional opinion on this intriguing problem . . .
State law provides that all termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings are confidential and that no identifying information can be shared between or among service providers.
Baby is born drug-addicted and is treated by hospital and medical specialists. Birth mother releases baby who is placed for adoption. Baby requires frequent follow-up visits by the same medical team.
Adoptive parents do not know the birth mother’s name and are required to take the baby for follow-up visits. Baby’s original medical file contains her and her mother’s birth names. Medical professionals are reluctant to create a “dummy file” with identifying information removed. They want “proof” that the child placed for adoption is the same child who they treated in the hospital.
Adoption will not be finalized for six months. Until then the baby has a new name but no legal proof that her name has changed. Even with the name change, there is no proof that this child is the same child who was born under a different name.
How does this social worker insure continuity of care? Do the medical professionals have a HIPPA problem? A medical ethics problem? A state law problem?
Has anyone out there had this same experience? Comments please. And I’m sure that many will point out the absurdity that adoption secrecy continues to perpetuate. This case is a good example of that.