“It’s [the law] become an all-purpose excuse for things people don’t want to talk about,” said Carol Levine, director of the United Hospital Fund’s Families and Health Care Project, which has published a Hipaa guide for family caregivers.
Intended to keep personal health information private, the law does not prohibit health care providers from sharing information with family, friends or caregivers unless the patient specifically objects.
“Providers may be disinclined to give out information anyway, and this provides an easy rationale,” Mr. Carlson, the Justice in Aging lawyer, said. “But Hipaa is more common sense than people give it credit for.”In other words, health-care providers are engaged in the same sort of behavior as schools' "zero-tolerance" policies that suspends a student for bringing a plastic butter knife to school.
That is, it is better to ban the behavior outright than to engage in thought about each situation.