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A widespread infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19 stresses the health care system.
HIPAA Rules regarding protected health information (PHI) are not suspended, but key provisions in the Privacy Rule manage the permitted and required uses and disclosures of PHI. And, if there is a Presidential Declaration of a Public Health Emergency, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can temporarily waive some HIPAA requirements.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule and OCR guidance clearly explain how Covered Entities and their Business Associates may collaborate and communicate with other Covered Entities and Public Health Authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak, and how to communicate with family, friends and others involved in the patient’s care.