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HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations

26 Nov 2014

HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations

In light of the Ebola outbreak and other events, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is providing a bulletin to ensure that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates are aware of the ways in which patient information may be shared under the HIPAA Privacy Rule in an emergency situation, and to serve as a reminder that the protections of the Privacy Rule are not set aside during an emergency.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of patients’ health information (protected health
information) but is balanced to ensure that appropriate uses and disclosures of the information still may be made when necessary to treat a patient, to protect the nation’s public health, and for other critical purposes.

OCR’s bulletin on HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations may be found at:
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/emergency/hipaa-privacy-emergency-situations.pdf.

Additional guidance on HIPAA in Emergency Situations: Preparedness, Planning, and Response can be found at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/emergency/index.html

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