Health Information Management

Q&A: HIPAA privacy and HIV information

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 27, 2012

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Q: Must we keep HIV information separately in the medical record?

A: The HIPAA privacy standards treat HIV information like any other health information. Therefore, there is no requirement to keep information separately, get a specialized release, etc.
 
That said, many states have statutes that afford special protection to information pertaining to HIV testing or treatment. Since HIPAA is a federal privacy floor, more stringent state laws would apply.
 
As always, the best way to achieve compliance is to do your best to be sure that patients are aware of what you are doing with their protected health information.
 
Editor’s note: Chris Simons, RHIA, director of health information and privacy officer at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, NH,answered this question in the March issue of Medical Records Briefing.



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