Fox Rothschild’s HIPAA & Heath Information Technology Blog recently published two posts directly relevant to physicians and medical practices. The first post, 5 Common HIPAA Mistakes to Avoid in 2018, addresses some typical misconceptions regarding disclosure of protected health information (PHI) and offers some ideas regarding how to avoid them.
The second post, New HIPAA Guidance on Disclosure of PHI related to Opioid Abuse and Mental Health, touches on the most recent HIPAA guidance released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding when and to whom PHI of patients suffering from addiction and mental illness may be shared. Among other things, the guidance addresses disclosure of PHI to family members or friends of patients in situations where the patient is incapacitated or there is a serious or imminent threat to the patient’s health. The guidance also addresses HIPAA’s rules on sharing PHI regarding a patient’s substance abuse or mental health with other treating physicians.
The OCR has published webpages on its website to make this guidance easily accessible and understandable to health care professionals and patients.
As always, if you have a specific question regarding your practice, please consult a knowledgeable attorney.