HIPAA Reminder – COVID-19


posted by Kathy Everitt on Friday, March 13, 2020

While social media is blowing up with so called “facts” about the Novel Coronavirus, something that every clinician needs to remember is that following HIPAA is paramount.

Interesting enough, when an Ohio case was announced yesterday, I received a call from a friend telling me that the man testing positive lives about three miles from a family member. Unless that individual or his family member shared that information, this type of information should not be out in “air waves”. Let’s be clear, the 18 Protected Health Identifiers (PHI) include:

•             Names

•             Dates, except year

•             Telephone numbers

•             Geographic data

•             FAX numbers

•             Social Security numbers

•             Email addresses

•             Medical record numbers

•             Account numbers

•             Health plan beneficiary numbers

•             Certificate/license numbers

•             Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers including license plates

•             Web URLs

•             Device identifiers and serial numbers

•             Internet protocol addresses

•             Full face photos and comparable images

•             Biometric identifiers (i.e. retinal scan, fingerprints)

•             Any unique identifying number or code

HIPAA has a special guidance section for what information and to whom that information can be released during an emergency situation. You can review these guidelines at:  

Overall, remember the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is very clear in their message:  there needs to be a balance between protecting the privacy of patient PHI (protected health information) and the appropriate use and disclosure of information to protect the public.

  1. coronavirous
  2. covid-19
  3. hipaa

About The Author

Kathy Everitt

Kathy brings with her more than 30 years of professional liability experience to NCMIC, encompassing underwriting, sales management, as well as risk management consultation services for healthcare professionals. She has earned her CPHRM designation and, as a licensed property/casualty agent, Kath ... read more

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