[ Tuesday, October 18, 2016 ]


Robocalls for Flu Shots: Interesting article on the intersection of two federal privacy-related laws: HIPAA and the TCPA.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act protects consumers against unwanted commercial phone calls, but there are exceptions for healthcare and treatment.  A Safeway customer got a flu shot at a Safeway pharmacy and gave Safeway her cell phone number.  The next year, Safeway robo-called her 3 times with reminders to get another flu shot.  She sued under the TCPA.

Safeway won on summary judgment because the calls were permitted under TCPA's exception for exigent health treatment, and because they were not "marketing" under HIPAA.  At least part of the case is dependent on Safeway having good documentation, specifically in its Notice of Privacy Practices.

The real lesson for healthcare providers, though, is to keep in mind that HIPAA is not the only privacy statute you must follow.  Any form of communication that might be considered advertising is potentially problematic, so be careful out there.

Jeff [6:25 AM]

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