Critical Path Network

Medicare clarifies medical privacy of health info

MLN Matters, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides clarification about the Privacy Rule of HIPAA, when transferring private health information to potential post-acute providers:

  • Discharge planners do not need to obtain signed consent forms from patients before sharing their medical information for treatment purposes.
  • HHS adopted modifications to the rule in August 2002, which clarify that incidental disclosures do not violate the Privacy Rule when providers have commonsense policies that reasonably safeguard and appropriately limit how protected health information is used and disclosed.
  • Doctors and other providers, including discharge planners, can share needed information with patients' families, friends, or anyone else identified by patients as involved in their care as long as the patient agrees.