protected health information (PHI)

On July 8, two weeks following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson that invalidated the constitutional right to abortion, President Biden signed Executive Order 14076 (E.O.). The E.O. directed federal agencies to take various actions to protect access to reproductive health care services,[1] including directing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider actions” to strengthen the protection of sensitive healthcare information, including data on reproductive healthcare services like abortion, by issuing new guidance under the Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).[2]

Continue Reading Biden Administration Seeks to Clarify Patient Privacy Protections Post-Dobbs, Though Questions Remain

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to imminently issue its opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (“Dobbs”). If the Court rules in a manner to overturn Roe v. Wade, states will have discretion in determining how to regulate abortion services.[1] Such a ruling would overturn nearly 50 years of precedent, leaving patients, reproductive health providers, health plans, pharmacies, and may other stakeholders to navigate a host of uncharted legal issues. Specifically, stakeholders will likely need to untangle the web of cross-state legal issues that may emerge.

Continue Reading The Pendulum Swings Both Ways: State Responses to Protect Reproductive Health Data, Post-Roe

Medical providers are often asked, or feel obligated, to disclose confidential information about patients.  This blog post discusses when disclosures of confidential medical information involve law enforcement, but the general principles discussed herein are instructive in any scenario.  To protect patient confidentiality and avoid costly civil liability arising from improper disclosures, it is imperative that providers ask questions to assess the urgency of any request and to understand for what purpose the information is sought by authorities.  Knowing what questions to ask at the outset prepares providers to make informed decisions about disclosing confidential information in a manner that balances the obligation to maintain patient confidentiality and trust with legitimate law enforcement requests for information aimed at protecting the public.
Continue Reading Responding to Law Enforcement Demands for HIPAA Protected Information

In a recent blog post, colleagues in our Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice addressed the legal framework pertaining to coronavirus (COVID-19) risks in the workplace.  As the number of cases continues to the climb in the U.S., it is imperative that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates are aware of their privacy and security responsibilities in the midst of this public health emergency.  EBG provides this guidance on how to effectively respond to the coronavirus public health crisis while navigating patient privacy issues.
Continue Reading Public Health vs. Patient Privacy – How Coronavirus Is Putting HIPAA to the Test