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The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides a Federal floor of privacy protections for individuals' individually identifiable health information where that information is held by a covered entity or by a business associate of the covered entity.
The Privacy Rule is designed to minimize conflicts between Federal requirements and those of State law in the following ways:
A State law is "contrary" to the HIPAA Privacy Rule if it would be impossible for a covered entity to comply with both the State law and the Federal Privacy Rule requirements, or if the State law is an obstacle to accomplishing the full purposes and objectives of the Administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA.
In general, a State law is "more stringent" than the HIPAA Privacy Rule if it relates to the privacy of individually identifiable health information and provides greater privacy protections for individuals' identifiable health information, or greater rights to individuals with respect to that information, than the Privacy Rule does.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may, upon specific request from a State or other entity or person, issue a determination that a contrary State law which meets certain criteria will not be preempted by the Federal requirements.
No. The Privacy Rule establishes a floor of Federal privacy protections and rights for individuals. If a provision of State law provides greater privacy protection than a provision of the Privacy Rule, and it is possible to comply with both the State law and the Privacy Rule (e.g., where a State law prohibits the disclosure of HIV status while the Privacy Rule permits such disclosure), there is no conflict between the State law and the Privacy Rule, and no preemption.
The Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers and other covered entities to disclose reports of child abuse or neglect to public health authorities or other appropriate government authorities.
Preemption exception determinations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will apply generally to all persons subject to the particular provision of State law for which the exception was granted.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not make determinations as to whether a provision of State law is
Yes. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will promptly inform the public of exception determinations through publication of notice in the Federal Register, and on HHS' web sites, including the OCR Privacy web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.