Disclosures to Law Enforcement are Permissible

We often must disclose PHI to law enforcement if we follow the appropriate guidelines.

Disclosures to Law Enforcement

Disclosures to law enforcement are permissible.  Sometimes it is hard to determine under what circumstances PHI may be disclosed to law enforcement. An example would be when you respond to subpoenas.

HIPAA permits disclosures of PHI 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 to law enforcement are permissible 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 disclosures of PHI 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.  By following these guidelines disclosures of PHI may be allowed.

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.

Other ABCs of interest.