image description IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH Health information technology (HIT) is raising the standard of care, improving efficiency, accuracy, and safety.  Multiple doctors can now securely view a patient’s computerized medical records, films, or test results online and conference over the phone.  Once a patient’s health information is stored in a hospital database, the Emergency Department can pull up that person’s records instantly, avoiding potential medical error and saving precious time in a lifethreatening situation.  HIT is even helping to spur medical discoveries and treatment advances. PRESERVING YOUR PRIVACY The Confidentiality Coalition was founded to help maintain the critical balance between guarding individual privacy and allowing for a secure flow of information to improve healthcare for everyone.  While our members are part of the healthcare industry, as individuals we all have been, and will be, patients at some point in our lives.  We support strong security systems to protect private health information. RESPECTING YOUR RIGHTS Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your medical records are protected by federal law.  HIPAA mandates national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and establishes specific safeguards that any person or organization with access to your information is legally obligated to follow.  The Confidentiality Coalition follows new developments in health privacy laws and regulations to help keep your health information private and secure.


image description LATEST NEWS

HHS Issues New HIPAA Guidance

December 18, 2017

HHS issued new HIPAA guidance "on sharing information related to mental health and substance use disorder treatment with a patient's family, friends and others involved in the patient's care or payment for care," which includes information sharing for individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. HHS also created two new HIPAA websites for professionals and consumers to reorganize existing guidance on mental and behavioral health. HHS indicates the guidance "is an important step forward in clarifying the circumstances under which HIPAA permits a covered entity to disclose information to family members and caregivers." HHS also created a working group "to study and report on the uses and disclosures under HIPAA of protected health information for research purposes," with federal and private sector stakeholders and experts. The report of the working group will address "whether uses and disclosures of [protected health information] PHI for research purposes should be modified to facilitate research while protecting individuals' privacy rights."

HHS provided updated information regarding when the Privacy Rule "permits a health care provider to share the protected health information of a patient who is being treated for a mental health condition," including information on the treatment of mental health under HIPAA, information sharing with family and friends of individuals with mental illness, and disclosures for health and safety purposes. The guidance is available in multiple sections found at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/mental-health/index.html. A Fact Sheet with Frequently Asked Questions is attached. The Fact Sheet outlines information regarding: health care power of attorney documents; information sharing with other health care providers and third parties providing case management or continuity of care services; emergencies, emergency hospitalization or dangerous situations; and substance use disorder treatment.

More information can be found at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/. The website providing information on HIPAA and mental health, including substance use, for consumers, is available at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/mental-health/index.html.