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HIPAA privacy rules often misinterpreted

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In a very useful story that could save some lives, The New York Times reports on how the use of HIPAA patient-privacy rules to enforce a very cold and sometimes lethal code 0f silence often reflects a gross misinterpretation of the law.

“Intended to keep personal health information private, the law does not {emphasis CMG’s} prohibit healthcare providers from sharing information with family, friends or caregivers unless the patient specifically objects. Even if she is not present or is incapacitated, providers may use “professional judgment” to disclose pertinent information to a relative or friend if it’s ‘in the best interests of the individual.”’

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