Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 2, 2015

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Submit your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Nicole Votta at nvotta@hcpro.com and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.


Q: I have a payment dispute with a healthcare provider and the account was placed in collections. The collector reached out to my emergency contact (my brother) to obtain contact information for my wife, presumably to try and ask her to pay the account balance. Is this considered a HIPAA violation?


A: No. See this HHS FAQ on this subject: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/faq/disclosures/266.html. As long as the information used or disclosed is reasonably part of the collections process, it is permitted, although of course the agency has no need (and therefore should not) share information about your diagnosis or treatment when attempting to obtain contact information for you or your wife.
 



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