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Wondering whether you can access your teenager’s medical records? Or what information can be shared with a patient’s neighbor? These are just some of the questions the UW Medicine Compliance team answers daily. Their mission is to protect the rights of patients, promote ethical conduct and advance a culture of compliance. Here’s your chance to see if you can accurately answer some of the common compliance questions.

Test your knowledge

A patient is regularly brought to their clinic appointments by their next-door neighbor. What information may the patient’s physician share with the patient’s neighbor?

a) Any information in the patient’s medical files.
b) The patient’s shoe size.
c) UW Medicine policy allows you to share information that is directly relevant to an individual’s involvement in the patient’s care.

The correct answer is C. In this scenario, you could share high-level information about the patient’s appointments that would allow the neighbor to plan pick-up and drop-off times at the clinic. It would not be OK to share the patient’s underlying health information (for example, the purpose of the appointment, diagnoses, lab results, etc.) unless that information is relevant for the neighbor to know to facilitate the patient’s transport.

You may ask the patient whether it’s OK to share information with the neighbor when the patient is present.

When the patient isn’t present, you may use your professional judgment to determine whether sharing the information is in the best interest of the patient.

A teenager receives care at UW Medicine. Can the teen’s parents see their health information in MyChart?

a) No, they should look on TikTok instead.
b) Under HIPAA, parents have access to their child’s health information.
c) Under HIPAA, the test to determine who controls access to a patient’s health information is who can make decisions to receive treatment.

The correct answer, again, is C. Washington state law permits adolescents access to certain services, such as reproductive/sexual healthcare, mental health care and substance use care, without parental consent. UW Medicine has an obligation to limit access to this information. UW Medicine configures its MyChart settings to ensure adolescent patient privacy and allow for limited access to parents. For more information, see this Right As Rain article that explains how a teen’s medical privacy changes when they turn 13.

Our hospital/clinic/department received an invitation from a vendor to pay for staff travel costs to attend a training the vendor is giving. Is it OK to accept this sponsored travel offer?

a) Only if the training is somewhere tropical and sunny.
b) No, you should not accept sponsored travel from vendors and/or commercial entities.
c) Vendors and/or commercial entities may pay for your travel expenses in extremely limited circumstances.

The correct answer is, you guessed it, C! Here are the circumstances in which it may be allowable for a vendor and/or commercial entity to pay your travel expenses:

  • When you are required to travel as part of a contractual arrangement between a UW Medicine entity and the paying vendor/commercial entity, such as a purchasing agreement or professional services agreement; or
  • When your travel is part of an approved research protocol and agreement or the travel is required by the research contract so that you may participate in an investigator’s meeting; or
  • When you have an approved outside work request and the travel is for your outside work, such as speaking at the commercial entity’s sponsored event or program or consulting (please note that state employees, including UW faculty, are prohibited from providing testimonials for, marketing for, or endorsing a vendor or its products).
  • If you still have questions, please refer to Sponsored Travel FAQs.

Sponsored travel may be problematic because it may create the appearance of a conflict of interest, and/or be perceived as creating a favorable bias toward that entity. In some circumstances, sponsored travel may violate state or federal laws, such as the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the Washington State Ethics Act and UW Medicine Compliance Code of Conduct prohibiting acceptance of gifts from industry.

Who is the UW Medicine Chief Compliance Officer?

Beth Delair, UW Medicine Chief Compliance Officer

Beth DeLair, UW Medicine Chief Compliance Officer

There’s only one answer! Beth DeLair!

Beth DeLair, joined UW Medicine as its chief compliance officer in 2020, having served as the interim chief compliance officer and, before that appointment, as the interim UW Physicians compliance officer. She guides a strong team of professionals with expertise in both academic and community hospital compliance. DeLair is a licensed attorney and registered nurse.

For more about the UW Medicine Compliance team, resources and tips, visit UW Medicine Compliance.