HIPAA exceptions

Nurses HIPAA


Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).

Since we get so many questions on this area and it appears that most health care workers really don't understand HIPAA I thought I would set up a link to HHS website that specifically address allowed exceptions. When reading focus on Section 5 of the exceptions.

Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule | HHS.gov

Law Enforcement Purposes.

Covered entities may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes under the following six circumstances, and subject to specified conditions: (1) as required by law (including court orders, court-ordered warrants, subpoenas) and administrative requests; (2) to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) in response to a law enforcement official's request for information about a victim or suspected victim of a crime; (4) to alert law enforcement of a person's death, if the covered entity suspects that criminal activity caused the death; (5) when a covered entity believes that protected health information is evidence of a crime that occurred on its premises; and (6) by a covered health care provider in a medical emergency not occurring on its premises, when necessary to inform law enforcement about the commission and nature of a crime, the location of the crime or crime victims, and the perpetrator of the crime.



IME employers do their hefty share of adding confusion to the issues. For example, in the paragraph above, some focus on the word "may."

"Yes, we may do that, but as a general rule our policy is not to."

I'm not saying they're right or wrong, just that it leads to confusion and all of a sudden it's not just that we don't call the cops for every underage kid who drinks a beer, it's that some employee will worry about HIPAA when they would otherwise call to report things like an assault against themselves.

Adding "privacy practices" into the mix complicates things further.

So yes, everyone should take a look at the link to be better informed.

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