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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.
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.
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