[ Monday, September 27, 2004 ]
HIPAA and the IRS
(that sounds scary, doesn't it?): Here's a pronouncement
from the IRS to its internal agents outlining how HIPAA applies the them (it doesn't, but it might make it hard to get information). The likely suspects of how to get the information are discussed: getting the taxpayer to give it over voluntarily, getting it for "law enforcement purposes," or getting it in connection with a judicial proceeding. A couple of interesting things: the IRS notes that once it gets the information, however it gets it, it is not required to protect it under the HIPAA privacy rules; however, the IRS is bound by its own privacy rules in Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS also instructs its agents to not agree to any negotiated privacy protections if the information is something where the IRS could compel production. In other words, don't tie our hands; if you can't get the information freely and voluntarily, go through the law enforcement or judicial proceedings exceptions rather than agreeing to keep the information private.
Jeff [1:24 PM]
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