How HIPAA Allows Doctors to Respond to the Opioid Crisis

When HIPAA allows information sharing.

Guidance issued by OCR explaining how HIPAA allows health care professionals to disclose PHI without a patient’s consent in certain emergency situations, such as when a patient is unconscious or to prevent a serious and imminent threat to a patient’s health or safety.

Key Points

  • HIPAA permits health care professional to share health information, without a patient’s permission, with a patient’s loved ones in emergency or dangerous situations.
  • Additionally, HIPAA anticipates that a patient’s decision-making capacity may change over the course of treatment and if a patient regains capacity a provider must offer the patient an opportunity to agree or object to any additional sharing of PHI.

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