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November 15, 2017

Applying Privacy Laws To Health Info About Opioid Use

By Patricia A. Markus

Law 360

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights released guidance on Oct. 27 about the situations in which healthcare providers may share a patient’s protected health information (PHI) with family members or friends when that patient may be in crisis and possibly incapacitated, such as following an opioid overdose. The guidance was issued the day after President Donald Trump directed Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, and just a few days later, on Nov. 1, the president’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued its final report containing 56 recommendations for responding to and stemming the crisis.