In response to the COVID-19 national public health emergency, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have issued a number of changes and guidance with respect to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy regulations.

For example, on March 13, 2020, HHS exercised the authority granted by Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to waive certain requirements of the HIPAA privacy regulations for hospitals. On March 17, 2020, OCR announced it would exercise enforcement discretion to allow greater flexibility for telehealth communications. OCR has also issued a number of bulletins highlighting and clarifying permissible uses and disclosures.

Bass, Berry & Sims healthcare attorneys held a webinar briefing covering key information regarding HIPAA compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we recently addressed what you need to know about HIPAA and COVID-19, we understand you may have questions as things continue to evolve.

We covered the following topics:

  • Telehealth flexibility.
  • Limited HIPAA waivers.
  • OCR guidance on disclosures.