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HealtHITech Law HIPAA, HITECH and Beyond

Monthly Archives: January 2017

OCR Guidance Clarifies Disclosures to Patient Spouses, Relatives, Friends

Posted in Permitted Disclosures, Personal Representative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently provided guidance for healthcare professionals concerning disclosures of protected health information (PHI) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (the Privacy Rule) to patient spouses, relatives, and friends. Under the Privacy Rule, a covered entity may “share [PHI] with an individual’s family member, other… Continue Reading

SAMHSA Finalizes Changes to Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records Rule

Posted in Behavioral Health

For the first time in nearly thirty years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) has updated the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 2). On January 18, 2017, SAMHSA published the Final Rule amending 42 C.F.R. Part 2. The changes were set to be effective February… Continue Reading

Untimely Breach Notification Leads to Significant HIPAA Settlement

Posted in Breach, Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) recently announced its first HIPAA settlement based on the untimely reporting of a breach of unsecured protected health information (“PHI”). Chicago-based Presence Health System (“Presence Health”) agreed to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule by paying $475,000.00 and implementing a… Continue Reading

HIPAA Disclosures for Public Health Activities

Posted in Public Health

Federal health information regulators recently clarified that HIPAA permits certain uses and disclosures for public health activities without patient authorization. A fact sheet released December 20 by the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology explains a number of hypothetical scenarios in which… Continue Reading