October 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 301

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October 27, 2021

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Sharing PHI Without Consent: An OCR Reminder

Prompted by the mass shooting in Las Vegas, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights issued guidance clarifying when covered entities can share a patient’s protected health information with family, friends and others involved in the patient’s care.

Typically, protected health information is only shared after a patient provides consent. The OCR reminded health care providers that they can disclose protected health information without consent to family members and relatives involved in the patient’s care if in their professional judgment doing so is in the patient’s best interest. Information can also be shared as necessary to locate someone’s family member. In addition, a covered entity may share protected health information with disaster relief organizations to coordinate notification regarding the patient. The information shared should be limited to the minimum necessary to accomplish the purpose of transmitting it to family, friends, or others involved in the patient’s care.

TIP: OCR has provided information in the past about when PHI can be shared, however this is a timely reminder that patient consent is not always needed. 

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 310
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About this Author

Elizabeth Balfour, health care attorney, litigation, Shepard Mullin Law FIrm, San DIego, California
Partner

Elizabeth S. Balfour is a litigator and healthcare attorney and works out of the firm's Del Mar Heights (Northern San Diego) office.

Ms. Balfour represents clients in investigations initiated by the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal and state regulatory agencies.   Ms. Balfour advises hospitals and medical groups in relation to HIPAA, MACRA, and mandates arising out of the Affordable Care Act.  She advises management companies in relation to disputes involving the provision of property and...

858.720.8985
John Sample, Commercial Litigator, Chicago Attorney, Sheppard Mullin Law FIrm
Associate

John Sample is an associate in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's Chicago office.

Mr. Sample has experience on a wide range of commercial litigation matters, including breach of contract, real estate, intellectual property, product liability and labor and employment. Mr. Sample has particular expertise with contract disputes, and he contributed to editing the book, Illinois Contract Litigation. In addition, he has managed large document reviews, obtained witness declarations, and appeared in state and federal courts in Chicago. Mr. Sample has worked on legal matters for...

312.499.6350
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