HHS Issues Limited HIPAA Waivers for Hurricane Harvey-Devastated Areas

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a limited set of waivers from HIPAA requirements for those affected in Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.

Though the agency cannot waive the HIPAA Privacy Rule, it can take more limited, focused actions.

Here, then, are the five provisions for which Secretary Tom Price, M.D., waived HIPAA sanctions and penalties:

  1. The requirements to obtain a patient’s agreement to speak with family members or friends involved in the patient’s care
  2. The requirement to honor a request to opt out of the facility directory
  3. The requirement to distribute a notice of privacy practices
  4. The patient’s right to request privacy restrictions
  5. The patient’s right to request confidential communications

The waivers apply for up to 72 hours after a hospital implements its disaster protocol.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.