HHS relaxes HIPAA enforcement allowing hospital business associates to share COVID-19 info

The Office for Civil Rights of HHS announced April 2 that it would not penalize hospitals or their business associations for disclosing COIVID-19 related protected health information.

The goal is to support federal public health authorities, such as the CDC and CMS, as well as allow state and local health departments to gain access to COVID-19 data. Now, business associates of hospitals can share this data without risking a HIPAA penalty.

"The CDC, CMS and state and local health departments need quick access to COVID-19 related health data to fight this pandemic," said Roger Severino, OCR director. "Granting HIPAA business associates greater freedom to cooperate and exchange information with public health and oversight agencies can help flatten the curve and potentially save lives."

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