The Associated Press, via Yahoo! news, is running a story about how health privacy laws mark the end of an era in small town America:
Yahoo! News - Communities Adjust to Medical Privacy Laws:
"NELIGH, Neb. - Practices which helped neighbors stay connected in this community of 1,200 and others like it across the country are largely gone - partly because of the nation's new medical privacy laws under the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act.
It used to be easy for Hope Weaver to comfort friends when they were in the hospital. If she didn't hear that someone needed a visit by word-of-mouth, she'd simply pick up the newspaper, tune in her radio or look at the patient list posted in the hospital's front lobby. 'You like to send people a card or keep in touch with them,' the 79-year-old resident notes...."
If the communities are so keen on broadcasting the names of those in hospital, why don't they just ask everyone, upon admission, if they want their information spread "the old fashioned way"?