Office for Civil Rights Guidance on COVID-19 and HIPAA disclosures to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities  by Kathy Lester, J.D., M.P.H.  On March 24, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance clarifying that any covered entity may share the name or other identifying information of an individual who has been infected with, or exposed to, COVID-19 with law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities without an individual’s authorization.  This clarification allows ground ambulance entities and their personnel to share the information consistent with the guidance.  It also allows other covered entities such as hospitals, physicians to share the information with ground ambulance entities and their personnel.  Finally, there are no HIPAA restrictions on non-covered entities, such as law enforcement, families, public health departments, and 911 call centers (not otherwise covered entities), from sharing the information.  There may be State confidentiality laws that apply as well, and the AAA encourages ground ambulance entities to review the laws in the States in which they operate. The authority to share this information is in the existing HIPAA regulation – this is not a waiver or a change in the current law.  OCR highlights the…

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