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Court Orders and Subpoenas

Court Order

A HIPAA-covered health care provider or health plan may share your protected health information if it has a court order. This includes the order of an administrative tribunal. However, the provider or plan may only disclose the information specifically described in the order. 

Subpoena

A subpoena issued by someone other than a judge, such as a court clerk or an attorney in a case, is different from a court order.

A HIPAA-covered provider or plan may disclose information to a party issuing a subpoena only if the notification requirements of the Privacy Rule are met. Before responding to the subpoena, the provider or plan should receive evidence that there were reasonable efforts to:

  • Notify the person who is the subject of the information about the request, so the person has a chance to object to the disclosure, or
  • Seek a qualified protective order for the information from the court.

See 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(e) and OCR's Frequently Asked Questions.

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on July 26, 2013
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