CORONAVIRUS: privacy and who can be informed
Under HIPAA, covered entities must implement reasonable safeguards to protect patient Protected Health Information (PHI) from unauthorized disclosures, and PHI may only be used or disclosed in certain circumstances, such as when needed for patient care, or other important purposes. The Appropriations Act does not waive or permit the Secretary to waive any HIPAA requirements.
It is imperative, for the practitioner, as well as the patient, to have proper protocols to follow for disseminating health information of a patient. Specifically, communication methods, even over smartphones via texts or emails, should maintain the confidentiality required by PHI. This means that all information shared via cell phones must be secured and encrypted. All health care providers are reminded that they may not disclose to the media or the general public information about an identifiable patient or specifics of that patient’s care and treatment without a written authorization from the patient or representative.
As this pandemic continues to expand to other cities in the United States, it is paramount that clients and patients have properly filled out HIPAA release forms to ensure that their family members and designated individuals have immediate access to their medical records and can be informed by the providers.
Written by: Liz C. Messianu, Esq.
Liz C. Messianu, Esq.has more than 17 years of experience in the areas of estates, trusts and guardianship matters. Liz leads an active practice group and is well regarded for her sensitive and thorough approach to each matter. Ms. Messianu’s areas of practice concentrate on guardianship, estate and trust administration; estate planning and wealth preservation's for individuals. Ms. Messianu handles all aspects of estate and trust matters, including probate and trust administration, representing beneficiaries in our COURTS, with a strong emphasis on litigation involving probate matters, estates, trusts, and contested guardianship's.