February 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 59


February 26, 2021

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Government Lightens Enforcement of HIPAA Rules to Aid COVID-19 Vaccinations

On January 19, 2021 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“HHS”) announced that it will not impose penalties for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Rules in connection with the good faith use of online or web-based scheduling applications to schedule individual appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. This applies to both covered health care providers and their business associates.

This exercise of OCR’s enforcement discretion is effective immediately and is retroactive to December 11, 2020.

This decision only applies when the use of the web-based scheduling is used in good faith and is limited only to appointments for the vaccine during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  OCR also continues to strongly encourage the use of reasonable safeguards to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ protected health information.

You can read the Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Use of Online or Web-Based Scheduling Applications during the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency here.

©2020 Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & GefskyNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 20



About this Author

Danielle L. Dietrich SMGG Attorney Pittsburgh, PA

Danielle L. Dietrich, Shareholder in the Pittsburgh Office of SMGG, focuses her practice in the areas of women and diverse-owned businesses, healthcare, elder law and litigation.  She has a broad range of experience in providing legal counsel and advice to her clients (both large and small), as well as having handled a wide range of disputes and litigation in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

A large portion of Ms. Dietrich’s practice focuses on the representation of women and diverse-owned businesses.  That practice includes assisting these...

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