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Pastors Visiting Patients at Maine Medical Center

Major Policy Change!

Your pastors feel strongly that visiting church members/friends at hospitals and other health care facilities is a very important ministry and priority of the church. Church members/friends most often expect and wish to be visited by their pastor. On September 1, 2015, Maine Medical Center made a major policy change which directly impacts patients in the hospital and pastors who visit them.

All the Years/Decades Before September 1, 2015: Pastors who came to the hospital could find church members/friends from a listing of newly admitted patients. Per MMC policy, based on the HIPAA Privacy Act of 1996, this is no longer possible.

From September 1, 2015 Onward: The ONLY way your pastors can know if church members/friends are hospitalized is by someone calling the church (799-3361) to let them know.

Either Cindy or Bob will be glad to visit you at Maine Medical Center/ any hospital/any healthcare facility/ or just about anywhere else. If it is not easy or possible for you to call the church, please ask a son, daughter, other family member, or friend to call the church so the pastors will know you are in the hospital, or other location. We would much rather receive many calls about the same person than no calls at all.

A Continuing Concern:

There are times when a church member/ friend may go to another location (rehabilitation hospital, nursing facility, home of a son or daughter, etc.) before returning home.

  • Your pastors gladly visit persons in any hospital, in any healthcare facility or any other location. However, we have to know where you are.
  • By policy and federal law, Maine Medical Center (and other hospitals) will not share this information. Most of our members don’t understand this.
  • As a result, your pastors “lose” members/friends at intervals because we have no idea where you have gone after leaving the hospital.
  • If you have not returned home immediately after leaving the hospital, please call the church and let us know where you are. Your pastors literally have no other way to learn your current location so they can come and visit you.

This is a major policy shift for all of us. The way that clergy were able to learn of church members in the hospital for many years pre-September 1 is gone. Example: The hospitalized church member who had not arranged a call to the church, but could say when the pastor arrived at the hospital room “I knew you would be here.” Without a call to the church, there is certainty that the pastor would not be there at all, and would have no idea that the church member was hospitalized.

We are asking for your help with all of this. Thank you!

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