Q&A: HIPAA and domestic abuse
Q: Does HIPAA place special restrictions on disclosures of PHI involving victims of domestic abuse?
A: HIPAA deals with abuse differently depending on whether it is child abuse or abuse of adults, elders, or disabled persons. Note that HIPAA is a basic privacy “floor,” or minimum standard. Generally, state laws are more specific and stringent than HIPAA with respect to these issues, and you must follow the law that provides the greatest privacy protection.
The minimum necessary standard should still apply when releasing information to child or adult protective services. Also, remember that adults with capacity retain the right to restrict the release of information.
These situations can be difficult, so consider consulting your facility’s legal counsel.