Do the laws surrounding HIPAA relax during emergencies like the recent flooding in Texas and Florida? The answer is, “no”. HHS did release a bulletin during Hurricane Harvey, with three exceptions to a breach.
The exceptions are important to note, because if you have family struggling for healthcare during these challenging times, the last thing you need are complicated protocols in a quest to obtain medical information. HHS has given hospitals and medical providers permission to let family members know if their loved one is a patient at a facility. In addition, the family member can speak with the facility and or practitioner about the individual's condition as well as their health issues. This communication channel allows family members to obtain the critical information necessary to locate patients who may have fled to another state, and to transition these patients during the challenging burden of relocation.
Some additional suggestions from AARP include:
RxOpen maps open and closed pharmacies during disasters. This “helps patients find nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by disaster. Combining multiple data feeds from the pharmaceutical industry, Rx Open displays the precise location on Google Maps of open pharmacies, closed pharmacies, and those whose status is unknown.”
Low-income patients can go to community health centers or clinics where the charity Direct Relief provides free prescription drugs and medical supplies.
For those on a Medicare Prescription Plan, Medicare recommends contacting the plan to find the nearest network pharmacy that is open. If one in unavailable, the plan can connect evacuees to out-of-network pharmacies. To find your plans phone number call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Natural disasters challenge us. The effective response to a disaster includes timely information at the point of care. Although we never expect to be victims of a disaster, preparedness is key. In the case of elderly family members, make sure they enlist a HIPAA representative. A HIPAA representative is someone named by the patient, and granted access to the patient's protected health information (PHI). The designated representative has the power to make health care decisions. In addition to having a HIPAA representative, it’s wise to plan ahead with medications. Be sure to have your medications ePrescribed. This ensures an electronic record is available within a pharmacy benefit system, and can be accessed from any location. If possible, have 90-day supplies available.
Preparing for a disaster can reduce the fear, anxiety and loss that accompany these events. In the case of personal health information, preparation is key to maintaining a sense of normalcy, to make imminent transitions a bit easier.
Judith is an accredited Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP) and member of HIMSS. As the owner of JAL, Judith is your subject matter expert providing guidance to organizations within HIPAA, GLBA, False Claim and other regulatory agencies. Judith provides reasonable and appropriate compliance policies, procedures within your Compliance Program. As a guru in compliance, Judith delivers compliance employee training programs, and participates in educational speaking engagements for the industries who handle Protected Health Information. To read more about the world of compliance subscribed to JAL’s insightful newsletter at www.jalconsultantsaz.com.
Personal Information Collected Online
•Personal Information means personally identifiable information such as information provided via forms, surveys, applications or other online fields including name, postal or email addresses, telephone, fax or mobile numbers, or account numbers.
•Before or at the time of collecting personal information, JAL will identify the purposes for which the information is being collected.
•JAL will collect and use personal information solely for the purpose of fulfilling specific contracted engagements or for other compatible purposes, unless consent is obtained from the company and/or individual concerned or as required by law.
•JAL will retain personal information as long as necessary for the fulfillment of a specific contract or for a specific purpose.
•JAL will collect personal information as deemed lawful and where appropriate with the knowledge and/or the consent of the individual or company.
•Personal data should be relevant to the extent of necessary purposes and should be accurate, complete and up-to-date.
•JAL will protect personal information by reasonable safeguards against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.
•JAL will make readily available to customer’s information about our policies and practices relating to the management of personal information. Terms and Conditions
JAL is committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principals in order to ensure that the confidentially of personal information is protected and maintained. By accessing this website, you are agreeing and bounded by these Website Terms and Conditions of Use, all applicable laws and regulations. If you do not agree with these Terms and Conditions, you are prohibited from using or accessing this website. The materials contained in this Web Site are protected by all applicable copyright and trade mark laws.
Our Online Notices are subject to change. Please review it periodically. If we make changes, we will revise the “Last Updated” date at the top of this Notice. Any changes will become effective the date the revised Notice is posted on the Site.