Corporate Compliance

Q&A: Police tips

Compliance Monitor, January 7, 2009

Q: Say a police officer provided the name of a woman with a drug problem to a facility as a heads up. The officer reveals the woman got pain medication from another state, and lost her children because of a drug addiction and lifestyle.

Would it be a violation for the treating physician to say that, because of the police report, he cannot be a party to her drug-seeking addiction?

A: Law enforcement agencies are not covered entities under HIPAA, so they are not required to comply with the privacy rule. They may alert a physician’s office of a patient with drug-seeking behavior if they choose.

It would not be a violation to tell the patient about the police report, but it may be better for the physician to simply refuse to prescribe pain medication based on his or her assessment of the patient’s condition.

This question was answered by Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, in the January issue of the HCPro newsletter Briefings of HIPPA. For more information about this newsletter visit the HCMarketplace.



1 comments on “Q&A: Police tips

Pierre (3/14/2012 at 6:16 AM)
Thanks, emr, for your comment/question. I bileeve that once practitioners adopt EMR systems, they will use them to manage all of their procedures in order to maximize efficiencies, reporting and billing. Otherwise it would be like an MSP using a PSA solution only for their Managed Services clients, and a separate system for all other services wouldn't make the most sense I encourage other comments on this thread!Erick Simpson


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