Here are a two frequently asked questions from the Department of Health and Human Services’ HIPAA web site that specifically address the types of communication that case managers and discharge planners engage in:
Question: "Are health care providers restricted from consulting with other providers about a patient’s condition without the patient’s written authorization?"
Answer: "No. Consulting with another health care provider about a patient is within the HIPAA privacy rule’s definition of treatment’ and, therefore, is permissible. In addition, a health care provider (or other covered entity) is expressly permitted to disclose protected health information about an individual to a health care provider for that provider’s treatment of the individual."
Question: "May covered entities use information regarding specific clinical conditions of individuals in order to communicate about products or services for such conditions without a prior authorization?"
Answer: "Yes, if the communication is for the individual’s treatment or for case management, care coordination, or the recommendation of alternative therapies. The HIPAA privacy rule permits the use of clinical information to the extent it is reasonably necessary for these communications."