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    Killworth discusses HIPAA challenges for health care entities in the midst of COVID-19

    While some HIPAA compliance mandates have been eased over the past few weeks, specifically including a 72-hour waiver for distributing privacy information and acquiring patient consent, hospitals and health care providers continue to struggle with patient privacy compliance in the midst of COVID-19. Providers are continually needing to be flexible and resourceful in how and where they offer care to a growing number of coronavirus patients, and, according to Bricker health care attorney Allen Killworth, the waiver is helpful but may not be enough.

    Specifically, in Bloomberg article “Hospitals Tackling Virus May Need More Than a Brief Privacy Waiver,” Killworth cites makeshift tent and drive-up screening sites that are popping up across the country. He states that “those temporary facilities may not be covered under the patient privacy waiver, complicating treatment.” And because these sites “don’t have the same resources,” they may not be able to offer the “same level of paperwork capabilities as you would in the main hospital.”

    Although no additional federal standards have been relaxed, health care entities are encouraged to check with state authorities regarding HIPAA relief during this unprecedented time. As the industry has seen with telemedicine regulations over the past few weeks, regulations are likely going to need to adjust to accommodate unique pandemic-related needs.