Healthcare facilities across the world are faced with myriad challenges as they aim to diagnose and treat cases of COVID-19. HHS and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have instituted several changes during the nationwide public health emergency, some of which modify HIPAA laws and directly impact healthcare organizations around the country.
As employers prepare for possible impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), one important step is to review the types of health disclosures that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does and does not allow in such times of crisis.
Hospitals, health systems, and long-term care facilities are being challenged by census workers requesting information about patients and residents to conduct an accurate census. Some have gone as far as stating that they have a right to access hospital electronic health records (EHR).
Q: I understand that disclosures of PHI can be made to law enforcement without patient authorization when the patient is suspected of committing a crime. What disclosures are permitted when law enforcement officials are investigating another person of a crime and a patient’s PHI may or may not provide evidence?