HIPAA and the Retention of Insurance Policies

Periodically the bishop and members of the synod staff hear various concerns expressed about risk management issues in congregations. Recently a couple of helpful articles came to light on such topics.

Hospitalization Confidentiality

There is often confusion in congregations about the issue of sharing information about parishioners undergoing illnesses or surgeries, in the context of naming hospitalized folks in the weekly Prayer of the Church. Specifically, some folks wonder how the federal HIPAA law applies (or doesn’t apply) to pastors and congregations.

Insurance Policy Retention

Congregational leaders and church staff also sometimes wonder about how long insurance policies should be retained. The short answer is: FOREVER! The ELCA website has an article that elaborates on this: Guide to Keeping Insurance Records

Administration Matters

Congregational officers and church staff persons should subscribe to Administration Matters, a free online publication from the ELCA Office of the Secretary. This newsletter is one of the best ways to stay up to date on administrative, corporate, financial and legal issues affecting churches.