This essay summarizes and assesses the various bulletins, guidance documents, and notices of enforcement discretion released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services regarding the application of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other topics and actions, these authorities address the application of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to the use and disclosure of protected health information for public health activities, waive the application of certain HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, and announce enforcement discretion regarding certain covered entities’ non-compliance with particular provisions within the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These authorities overwhelmingly, and appropriately, prioritize the health, safety, and welfare of the public over individual rights to patient privacy and health information confidentiality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stacey A. Tovino,
At a COVID Crossroads: Public Health, Patient Privacy, and Health Information Confidentiality,
St. Louis U. L.J.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.slu.edu/lj/vol65/iss4/7