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The Privacy Rule’s limitations on the use or disclosure of protected health information for marketing purposes do not exist in most States today.
No. While covered entities may share protected health information with their contractors who meet the definition of “business associates” under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, that definition is limited to contractors that obtain protected health information to perform or assist in the performance of certain health care operations on behalf of covered entities.
Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, a covered entity can share protected health information with a telemarketer only if the covered entity has either obtained the individual’s prior written authorization to do so, or has entered into a business associate relationship with the telemarketer for the purpose of making a communication that is not marketing, such as to inform individuals about the covered entity’s own goods or services.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule expressly requires an authorization for uses or disclosures of protected health information for ALL marketing communications, except in two circumstances:
The overlap among common usages of the terms “treatment,” “healthcare operations,” and “marketing” is unavoidable.
Generally, no. To the extent the disease management or wellness program is operated by the covered entity directly or by a business associate, communications about such programs are not marketing because they are about the covered entity’s own health-related services.
No. The HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from the definition of “marketing” communications made to describe a covered entity’s health-related product or service (or payment for such product or service) that is provided by, or included in a plan of benefits of, the covered entity making the communication.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from the definition of “marketing,” communications by a covered entity to describe the entities participating in a health care provider network or a health plan network.
No. The HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from the definition of “marketing,” communications about replacements of, or enhancements to, a health plan.
The provision of value-added items or services (VAIS) is a common practice, particularly for managed care organizations.
Yes. It is not marketing for a doctor to make a prescription refill reminder even if a third party pays for the communication.
Alternative treatments are treatments that are within the range of treatment options available to an individual.
No. In a specific exception, the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows covered entities to distribute items commonly known as promotional gifts of nominal value without prior authorization, even if such items are distributed with the intent of encouraging the receiver to buy the products or services.
In face-to-face encounters, the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows covered entities to give or discuss products or services, even when not health-related, to patients without a prior authorization. This exception prevents unnecessary intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.
No. In the specific case of face-to-face encounters, the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows health plans and their business associates to market both health and non-health insurance products to individuals.
The Privacy Rule makes it clear that nothing in the marketing provisions of the Privacy Rule are to be construed as amending, modifying, or changing any rule or requirement related to any other Federal or State statutes or regulations, including specifically anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, or self-referral statutes or regulations, or to authorize or permit any activity or transaction currently proscribed by such statutes and regulations.
Yes, if the communication is for the individual’s treatment or for case management, care coordination, or the recommendation of alternative therapies.
No. Communications about government and government-sponsored programs do not fall within the definition of “marketing.”