January 23, 2020

OCR Issues Guidance Following Earthquake in Puerto Rico

Following the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, OCR announced on January 9 that, as part of his declaration of a Public Health Emergency, HHS Secretary Alex Azar waived sanctions and penalties under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. This waiver applies only to emergency area and for the emergency period identified in the declaration and only to hospitals that have instituted a disaster protocol. Even hospitals and other providers and suppliers that do not qualify for the waiver are allowed to share patient information and assist in disaster relief efforts and to assist patients in receiving needed care under the Privacy Rule.