Clinical Center News
Summer 2018

Insurance information and gender identity now incorporated in electronic health record

For more information please contact Karen Kaczorowski (Patient Support Services/Admissions) 301-496-2341, or Tricia Coffey (Health Information Management) 301-496-2292,

Providing medical insurance information for emergency purposes
As of May 31, patients coming to Building 10 are asked to provide their medical insurance information. Having this information readily available helps the hospital staff coordinate any emergent or home care needs for patients who need them. Here are three things you need to know:

  • There's a benefit to providing patients' insurance information. If care is unexpectedly needed outside of the NIH Clinical Center, this information will expedite the process of ambulance transport, procedures or hospitalization. The information will make it easier to arrange home care needs and/or to make arrangements for any medical equipment needed after discharge.

  • We do not bill for services. The NIH will not bill for any services.

  • Unless it's a medical emergency, we will not share patients' insurance information without authorization. Medical information related to services provided by the NIH Clinical Center will never be shared with patients' insurance companies without patient authorization. Patients will be informed and need to authorize that their insurance information can be shared with an outside facility. There is an exception if there is a medical emergency.

Despite the benefits providing insurance information provides, it is optional. If patients have health insurance and decline to provide it, necessary/emergent services or treatments may be delayed at outside medical facilities with which the NIH Clinical Center may be trying to coordinate a patient's care on her/his behalf.

Admissions staff is collecting patients' insurance information and scanning insurance cards into the patient's medical record. The insurance information is viewable by Admissions, Health Information Management Department (Medical Records) and Social Work staff. NIH staff, view frequently asked questions (NIH Only) about the new process.

Gender identity now incorporated into medical records

Since late 2017, patients enrolled in clinical trials at NIH have been asked to provide their preferred gender identity during the admissions process. Information about sex and gender identity, similar to documenting a patient's age and ethnicity, help hospital staff provide the appropriate services for the study in which a patient is participating in.

"Asking patients about their gender identity is quickly becoming an industry-standard practice," Tricia Coffey, chief of the Health Information Management Department, said via email to NIH hospital staff. "It is important as we work to continually improve the patient experience here at the NIH Clinical Center and provide a welcoming, all-inclusive environment for those we service."

During admissions, staff enter a patient's sex (male or female), in the medical record and mark gender identity (a person's inner sense of their gender – male, female, transgender male, transgender female, neither or another gender).

Providing a gender identity is optional; patients can decline to answer. Neither sex nor gender identity data will be included on patients' wristbands.

A training conducted by The Fenway Institute via videocast on the collection of sex and gender identity for NIH Clinical Center patients is available for staff.

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