Q&A: HIPAA rules and cancer-free happy ad

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From the Spencer Evening World:

Q: A gentleman wishes to place a classified ad congratulating his sister on being breast-cancer free for four years. Is this allowed under HIPAA without her permission?  

A: HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – restricts the release of information by medical providers who bill electronically.

So unless the gentleman is the woman’s doctor his congratulatory classified ad will not violate the federal law – neither will coaches who explain the extent of injuries of athletes or police officers who describe the injuries of auto accident or crime victims.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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