OCR Updates HIPAA Privacy Rule FAQ and Guidance regarding Disclosures to Loved Ones

Members | January 11, 2017 | by Jennifer Hilliard

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights has posted a new FAQ which clarifies that the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits disclosures to loved ones regardless of whether they are recognized as relatives under applicable law. Specifically, the FAQ makes clear that the potential recipients of information under the relevant permissive disclosure provisions of 45 CFR 164.510(b) are not limited by the sex or gender identity of the person.

Similarly, OCR has updated existing guidance regarding the HIPAA Privacy Rule make clear that the terms marriage, spouse, and family member include, respectively, all lawful marriages (whether same-sex or opposite-sex), lawfully married spouses and the dependents of all lawful marriages.