Be sure to schedule your meetings to last at least an hour, but plan on being at the meeting room at least a half hour before to set up and greet early arrivals. It is a good idea to have a sign-in sheet available to record the names and contact information of the attendees. Keeping track of meeting attendees can be valuable for creating a mailing list.

Print version of Sign In Sheet

Most IC support group meetings will follow a similar format:

What About HIPAA?

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, primarily directs health insurers and providers to document their privacy procedures in order to protect the confidentiality of their patients.

These rules do not apply to support groups formed for the explicit purpose of allowing patients to interact with other patients as a form of “support.” Therefore, anytime a person leaves their name voluntarily on a sign-in sheet at a support group meeting, their information is no longer protected by HIPAA. However, even though the names are no longer protected by HIPAA, the list should still be cared for by someone in the group who will assure that no one has access to the list that can either sell the addresses or be contacting the individuals in the group for reasons other than what the group is intended for.

The exception to this rule is when meeting notices are sent to a mailing list generated via a physician’s or clinic’s data base using a specific ICD.9 code such as 595.1 (interstitial cystitis). In those cases, the patient names and addresses are HIPAA protected and must only be seen by staff personnel until the patient attends a support group meeting and signs in for the first time.

Revised Monday, August 31st, 2015