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COVID-19 HIPAA Lawyer in Los Angeles

What You Need to Know about Coronavirus & Your Privacy

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a worldwide impact not experienced in such a way since the outbreak of Spanish flu in 1918. That’s to say that what we’re all experiencing right now is unprecedented for the vast majority of us, and a lot about our laws in healthcare are being put to the test to deal with a serious global pandemic.

Despite the new situation that the novel coronavirus has caused for society, your right to privacy in the healthcare is intact with a few notable adjustments. To help healthcare workers deal with COVID-19 patients, Secretary Alex Azar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a temporary HIPAA waiver for certain privacy rights normally guaranteed by HIPAA.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one’s HIPAA rights have been inappropriately violated during this time, reach out to the COVID-19 HIPAA lawyer in Los Angeles at Dorros Law for help.

Contact us online or call (310) 935-0621 to arrange a free consultation where you can tell us about your situation. If you might have a case, we can provide options to help you determine how to proceed with a claim.

HIPAA Sanctions Temporarily Relaxed by HHS

HHS has recently indicated that the potential for penalties and sanctions against a covered hospital may be waived or relaxed during this COVID-19 period, however a covered entity should not assume that the privacy laws are any less strict or enforceable and should continue to adhere to health information privacy laws and regulations as if business was usual. Nevertheless, HHS has provided health care providers some leeway in certain narrow circumstances, including where:

  • Requirements aren’t met to obtain a patient’s consent to discuss their care with family members or friends
  • Requirements aren’t met that would honor a patient’s request to opt-out of a facility’s directory
  • Distribution of privacy practices fails to occur
  • Certain restrictions on a patient’s privacy aren’t met
  • A patient’s right to request confidential communications isn’t honored

Issued on March 15, 2020, the waiver that may allow the above, despite HIPAA policy and privacy requirements, may only be claimed in certain situations by certain entities. The waiver only applies when it occurs in an emergency area identified by a public health emergency declaration; for hospitals that have activated their disaster plans; and for up to 72 hours after such plans are activated.

The HHS HIPAA waiver does not relax the privacy, confidentiality, and security requirements set forth in State health information privacy laws such as California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (“CMIA”) and thus California health care providers and covered entities and their business associates should remain vigilant in ensuring that patient information privacy is respected and maintained.

Although some HIPAA rights and requirements may be subject to relaxed enforcement at this time, the scope is still very limited. Consult with a COVID-19 HIPAA attorney in Los Angeles like Dorros Law by contacting us online for help.

Contact Dorros Law Today

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