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Frequently Asked Questions
Category: Protected Health Information
Does HIPAA permit providers, billing agencies and collection agencies to speak with people other than the patient about a patient's bill?
Can we call for patients in our waiting room, or use a patient's name at the front desk?
Can medical offices use patient medical charts at bedside, whiteboards in clinics or chart holders outside of exam rooms?
Does HIPAA apply to the PHI of deceased patients?
Can a physician's office fax PHI to another provider's office?
May I mail appointment reminders to my patient's home?
When do I need to get the patient's permission to share PHI with other providers and insurers?
Can I discuss patient care information with my colleagues or with patients if there is a chance that someone else could overhear me?
What role does professional judgement play in determining whether I should share PHI with a friend, family member or personal representative?
What standards should communications meet?
Is a covered entity required to prevent any incidental use or disclosure of PHI?
What shall I do if a patient's friend or family member calls me for information?
Can I send materials to patients telling them about new treatments or services available for their condition or diagnosis?
When may a provider share a minor's PHI with a parent, without the minor's consent?
What happens if someone overhears me, or reads patient information that I have left sitting on my desk?
Can I discuss my patient's care or payment with friends or members of their family?
Can I discuss my patient's payment with members of their family?
What are examples of reasonable safeguards?
Can we use a sign-in sheet?
Are Covered Entities required to document incidental disclosures in an accounting of disclosures to an individual?
Is a doctor's office permitted to call a hospital, surgery center, or other facility, to arrange for the patient to receive care there, without an authorization?
May I release prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, or other forms of protected health information to a relative or friend?
Does HIPAA require providers to restructure offices to avoid any possibility that a conversation will be overheard?
Who is a personal representative? How does a covered entity identify a personal representative for HIPAA purposes?
May I leave messages for patients at their homes, either on an answering machine or with a family member?
Does HIPAA permit providers to share PHI with other providers for the purpose of obtaining payment, or helping the other provider to obtain payment, without the patient's authorization?
Can a pharmacist fill a prescription that was telephoned in by a patient's physician, without the patient's written consent or authorization, if the patient is new to the pharmacy?