How HIPAA Allows Doctors to Respond to the Opioid Crisis

HIPAA allows health care professionals to share protected health information with family members in certain emergency situations.

Doctor explaining good news to family member who appears relieved.

Guidance issued by OCR explaining how health care providers have broad abilities to share the protected health information of patients experiencing crisis situations, such as an opioid overdose, with family members without violating HIPAA privacy regulations.

Key Points

  • HIPAA allows health care providers to use professional judgment to disclose health information without a patient’s consent to family members if the provider determines that doing so is in the best interest of a incapacitated or unconscious patient and the information shared is directly related to the families involvement in the patient health care or payment of care.