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Does revealing that an individual was given Narcan injections violate HIPAA laws?

F.T. Norton

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, (often mistakenly spelled HIPPA), prevents entities that bill for medical services from releasing medical information.

According to the American Hospital Association, all health care providers, including hospitals, physicians and emergency medical or ambulance personnel that transmit protected health information in electronic form in connection with certain administrative and financial transactions are considered covered entities and are subject to the requirements of the rule.

The AHA makes a point to note that police, firefighters and family members are not considered covered entities under HIPAA.

To the extent that EMS units or ambulance services provide health care services to patients and bill payers or conduct other HIPAA transactions electronically, they are covered entities. In other words, if someone isn’t billed electronically, the information is not protected.

To answer the question, the administration of Narcan to an overdosing person by a firefighter or law enforcement officer is not protected by HIPAA.

For more information on HIPAA visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

HIPAA covered entity distictions

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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