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Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Due to the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, which mandates the protection of patient privacy, Harrison Hospital will no longer be able to provide our local faith communities with a list of the names of Catholic patients who are hospitalized.

What this means for us here at Holy Trinity is that you will need to notify the parish office if you, a family member, loved one, or friend is in the hospital and wishes to celebrate the Anointing of the Sick due to serious illness, surgery, unexpected hospitalization, or if you wish to receive Holy Communion during your hospital stay.

 Harrison Hospital will be able to contact us if a Catholic patient specifically requests the ministry of a priest for the celebration of a sacrament or of a Eucharistic Minister for Holy Communion during their hospitalization.

 We will, as always, be able to see patients, however, we will only be able to ask about or receive information about the location of a patient if a specific name is provided. So, if we are not informed of a hospitalization, we will not be able to meet a need.

I will continue to respond to emergency calls and to visit the hospital on Thursday if there is a spiritual care request and our Eucharistic ministers will visit the hospital on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, as they always have, if we know that a Catholic patient is in the hospital.

We will continue to strive to provide the best in sacramental and pastoral care to our parish members and to Catholics in the wider community. But your initiative in notifying us about a hospitalization and a ministry request will be essential to our success in serving our Catholic faith community.

 Please let your family members and friends know of this change in the hospital policy so that they can plan accordingly. And as always, please notify us of the need for the Anointing of the Sick prior to an anticipated hospitalization or surgical procedure, whenever possible.

I celebrate this sacrament at our weekday masses with our morning mass community adding their prayers to mine for healing and recovery. If you are not able to be present at mass, I also celebrate the Anointing of the Sick at area care facilities for which we are responsible and in parishioner homes, if necessary. If we all work together we can help to minimize the impact of this mandated change to previous policy. May God bless us all.

Your, Brother in Christ,

Fr. Jack Buckalew

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