HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations: HHS/OCR Bulletin

In response to the recent cases of Ebola in the US, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released an updated bulletin with guidance on HIPAA privacy in emergency situations.The bulletin addresses sharing and safeguarding patient information, waivers, and other resources.

Although the protections of the HIPAA Privacy Rule are not set aside during emergencies, the bulletin is meant to ensure that HIPAA covered entities are aware of the ways in which patient information may be shared under the Privacy Rule in an emergency situation.

Additional OCR HIPAA privacy resources include an interactive decision tool and other materials for advance planning and response, as well as FAQ on HIPAA waivers.