[ Thursday, November 13, 2014 ]
Ebola and HIPAA:
Jeff [3:04 PM]
I've heard lots of folks questioning how healthcare providers such as Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital here in Dallas were able to issue press releases and discuss the health condition and treatment of the Ebola patients they treated. It's an interesting question: the providers can't talk about it unless the patients authorize them to do so, but they must also disclose data to governmental agencies when required by law to do so (whether those government agencies may then disclose the data depends on whether they are covered by HIPAA [usually not] or some other privacy law [usually are]).
However, what normally happens in high-profile medical cases, whether they be "epidemic-disease-fo-the-day" or some high-profile incident like a terrorist attack, is that the provider coordinates with the patients, asks them how much information they want disclosed (if any), and respects their wishes.
Here's a pretty good article on what Emory Healthcare did
with their Ebola patients where the press was concerned.
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