by the recent mass shootings across the country, the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) this week released a letter to healthcare providers
to emphasize that the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act
(HIPAA) Privacy Rule does not prevent a provider from disclosing information
about a patient "…to law enforcement, family members of the patient, or
other persons [who may reasonably be able to prevent or lessen the risk of
harm], when you believe the patient presents a serious danger to himself or
Issued by HHS' Office of Civil Rights, the letter recommends that providers
consult their state
law, court decisions, and professional practice acts for any additional
requirements related to disclosure of patient information to prevent or lessen
the risk of harm.
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