The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects individuals’ Private Health Information (PHI) held by “covered entities,” like health plans, health care providers, and health care clearinghouses, and regulates the use and disclosure of PHI.
In order to help emergency preparedness and recovery planners stay in compliance with HIPPA while accessing and using protected health information for the disabled, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created an interactive web-based tool. (Medical News Today).
Planners are asked a series of questions that will help them determine whether they are legally allowed to disclose someone’s PHI for purposes of public health emergency preparedness. For example, the first question is, “Who is the source of the information to be disclosed?” If the source is a covered entity, the planner may not disclose. To make the task easier, HHS has posted a process flow chart (PDF).