HHS Waives Certain HIPAA Rules for Texas and Louisiana Hospitals

HHS Waives Certain HIPAA Rules for Texas and Louisiana Hospitals

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency in Texas and Louisiana, and HHS has exercised the authority to waive sanctions against Texas or Louisiana hospitals that do not comply with certain HIPAA provisions.  This means that HHS will not penalize hospital providers (including hospital-based ambulance services) for failure comply with certain HIPAA requirements while the waiver is effective.

HIPAA Requirements Waived

  1. Obtaining a patient's agreement to speak with family members or friends involved in the patient’s care
  2. Honoring a request to opt out of the facility directory
  3. Distributing a notice of privacy practices
  4. Honoring a patient's right to request privacy restrictions on the disclosure of their information
  5. Honoring a patient's right to request confidential communications

Important Notes

  • All other provisions of HIPAA continue to apply during the waiver period.
  • The waiver only applies in the emergency area and for the emergency period identified in the public health emergency declaration.  The public health emergency has retroactive effect to August 25, 2017.
  • The waiver only applies to hospitals that have instituted a disaster protocol.
  • When the emergency declaration terminates, a hospital must then comply with all the requirements of the HIPAA for any patient still under its care.

For more information regarding HIPAA in emergency situations, click HERE.

If you have questions, we’re here to help.  Contact us at 1-877-EMS-LAW1.

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