D is for Disclosures

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Disclosures to Law Enforcement

Sometimes it is hard to determine under what circumstances PHI disclosure to law enforcement is permissible.

HIPAA permits disclosures to law enforcement in certain situations. It is always okay when there is a signed authorization from the patient or their legal representative.

When to Respond

Disclosures are permitted when required by law, for example to respond to subpoena’s and court orders when specific requirements are met.  Also, for investigation of a crime, to locate a missing person and to prevent serious threats to public health and safety.  State law reporting may be required by law for reports of child and adult abuse and neglect, and for certain injury and disease reporting.

State Law

Besides considering the federal HIPAA law, review state law because it may be more protective than HIPAA and, in that case, state law is followed.

This is your HIPAA ABCs brought to you by HIPAA Associates.  Contact us for more information on this important topic and HIPAA training for you and your company.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.