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In The Room

We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s an elephant in the room,” but do you know exactly what it means? We personally thought that it relates to something people want to touch on, but to be 100% sure we needed to do some in-depth research (ahem, look it up on Wikipedia). It turns out it means:

“An English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink that no one wants to challenge.”

Now that’s not exactly what we were looking for, but we do think it is a very close fit for what we’re trying to discuss: Something so big that it needs to be touched on, but is often overlooked.

We can probably all agree that if after spending so much time working so hard to make cards/artwork/masterpieces as beautiful as possible, it would be IDEAL to be able to see the final result – a smile on a child AND family’s face. Unfortunately, there’s a big barrier that prevents us from doing things exactly the way we’d love to. Here’s a clue:

Can you tell what that is? Ask most people who work in the health industry and they should be able to tell you about our elephant in the room, or should we say hippo – the hippo named HIPAA.

We linked the HIPAA to the Wikipedia page that provides all types of details. If you look it up online, you can find some government sites that provide additional details as well. Although there’s all that information, we’ll summarize what it means for us and you. In summary, patient privacy is very important, and thanks to HIPAA, privacy is a law.

Recently, we saw another non-profit post something reminding their recipients that if they wanted to receive cards they needed to post pictures of themselves with the cards! We’ll never be like that and here are two key reasons why:

  1. We figure if it took our founder nearly a decade to move from talking about his epilepsy/surgery in the past tense to being proud about it, it’s definitely okay for families to not want us to share their pictures.

  2. We know about the hippo and will stick to it whether the recipients are in the hospital or not. Therefore, any time we repost a picture of a child holding the cards, we wait for their parents to confirm that it’s OK. If they don’t reply to the usual response, “Can we share this pic too?”, that’s not a problem. If there’s a smile, we’re all set.

We’re even over the top. If you follow us on any of our social sites you’ve probably seen that our partnership with Lifetime Wellness has been growing. Since some of those seniors are in assisted living facilities and can be considered patients, we follow up with the staff before we

post any of the pictures they send us. Originally, they asked if we had a patient privacy form, so we shared the form below and now we refuse to share any of the pictures unless they confirm that their residents have signed the form and agreed that it is OK for us to share their pictures.

Yes, there could be legal jargon on the form, but we want to make it as simple as possible for everyone involved! Thankfully, several of them have been agreeing recently. If you check out their Facebook album, it’s a combination of artwork and artists!

In summary, our decades of being connected to hospitals has us updated on all the details and background for patients. While that’s good for the kids and their families, it does leave our artists a bit short. We promise we’ll stick to our promised procedure. We won’t post the “Quick Update” posts that show a bunch of packages and lists where they’re going until after we’ve posted pictures of the cards we’ve received. Also, we’ll continue to encourage staff at hospitals to at least have their employees pose with the cards so you can see where they ended up.

With all that being said, we’ll continue to find ways to give you an update, but one thing we will continue to remember is that there’s a hippo named HIPAA IN THE ROOM and we’ll always respect the children’s and family’s privacy.

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!


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