Process serving is never an easy job. Most of the challenge comes in locating the individual who needs to be given papers. The problem gets more complicated when the person is at a high-security location.
It is not against the law to serve processes to people in the hospital. But there are some restrictions to protect individual people’s privacy. Be aware of the challenges so you can do your job as efficiently as possible.
Review State Laws
States have varying restrictions on hospital visits from process servers. Some states require a representative from the hospital to deliver the papers to the patient. Make sure to review the state laws where you intend to serve processes to a hospital. It could be that there are no additional obstacles for you to overcome.
These challenges are better to know about ahead of time. When you have a working knowledge of the regulations, you can form a professional relationship with the hospital staff making you the go-to resource for process serving at that facility.
Disabled, Incapacitated, or Incompetent Individuals
You need to take additional consideration when serving processes to individuals who are permanently or temporarily disabled, incapacitated, or incompetent. You may find you are still able to deliver a process officially. In some cases, you will also need to serve the individual’s guardian or power of attorney. In other cases, you should serve the administrator instead of the individual.
Begin by asking your client where you should direct the process. If they don’t know, refer to state law to guide your actions to remain legally and respectfully in the right.
Beware of HIPAA Violations
HIPPA restrictions do not prohibit people from calling a hospital to ask for an individual by name. Formerly, only family members could receive basic information such as whether a person is at the hospital and what room they are currently in.
Now hospitals release the name of a patient, a statement of condition, and their location (unless the ward they are in must be protected by HIPAA). When a hospital has admitted a person for substance abuse or psychiatric care, you will probably not legally be able to get access to them.
Aside from these considerations, we recommend you work with the hospital staff to have a smoother experience. The more you understand state law regarding process serving in a hospital, the more success you will have.
Here at Same Day Process Service, our fully trained servers bring respect and professionalism with them at all times. Give us a call today to complete your process service quickly and successfully.