June 29, 2020
June 22, 2020
- PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Forms Updated and Streamlined
- Nevada Division of Insurance to Disallow Policy Exclusions Related to COVID-19
- CDI Announces New Order Regarding Workers’ Compensation Premium Savings for CA Businesses Affected by COVID-19
june 15, 2020
june 10, 2020
- Note to the SBA: Debtors in Bankruptcy Are Eligible for PPP Loans
- California Modifies the Tolling of Statutes of Limitations in Civil Cases
june 8, 2020
- CCPA Enforcement Date Fast Approaching Regardless of COVID-19
- Hotels in California May Be Days Away From Reopening: What Hoteliers Need to Know
June 4, 2020
may 29, 2020
may 28, 2020
- House Introduces Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 in the Wake of COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
may 27, 2020
- Hoteliers Beware: a Return to Business Post-Pandemic Brings With It Potential Legal Liability
- House Contemplates Revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program
may 15, 2020
may 14, 2020
- U.S. House Democrats Introduce HEROES Act, a New $3T Stimulus Package
- SAFE Banking Act for Cannabis-Related Businesses Included in the HEROES Act
may 12, 2020
may 8, 2020
- Treasury and the SBA Issue Guidance Regarding the Employee Retention Credit
- Businesses Reopen in Los Angeles County as Stage 2 of California’s Statewide Plan Begins
- Update: Large Employers Required to Pay Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave Under New L.A. County Ordinance
may 6, 2020
- SBA Extends PPP Certification Safe Harbor to May 14
- A 2008 Redux: IRS Provides Temporary Cash/Stock Dividend Relief for Publicly Offered REITs and RICs
- EPLI Insurance and Employee Benefits in the Age of the Coronavirus
may 5, 2020
- Update: PPP Guidance Issued by the SBA and U.S. Treasury at Odds With the CARES Act—Michelman & Robinson Files First-of-Its-Kind Lawsuit Challenging FAQs
- NAIC Issues Business Interruption Data Call in the Wake of COVID-19
may 4, 2020
- PPP Guidance Issued by the SBA and U.S. Treasury at Odds With the CARES Act—Michelman & Robinson Files First-of-Its-Kind Lawsuit Challenging FAQs
may 1, 2020
april 29, 2020
- Planning for Your Employees' Return to the Workplace
- Los Angeles Hospitality Workers Among Those Thrown a Potential Lifeline
april 24, 2020
- Attention Cannabis Businesses: Hope May Be on the Horizon for Federal COVID-19-Related Relief
- California Department of Insurance Issues Notice Granting Tax-Filing Extension in Response to COVID-19
- SEC Approves Amendments to Nasdaq and NYSE Continued Listing Requirements Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 23, 2020
april 21, 2020
- Additional Funding Is on the Way to Resurrect the PPP
- Certifying Your PPP Loan: Proceed With Caution
april 17, 2020
april 16, 2020
- Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: EEOC and OSHA Guidance Allows Employers to Go Where They Could Not Go Before
- New Yorkers Ordered to Stay at Home Even Longer Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
- Paycheck Protection Program Funds Exhausted
april 15, 2020
- Attention Insurers: the CDI Has Ordered You to Fairly Investigate All Business Interruption Insurance Claims Caused By the COVID-19 Outbreak
April 14, 2020
- Insurance Companies Have Been Ordered to Provide COVID-19-Related Premium Relief to Businesses and Drivers in California
- What to Do If Your New York Business Has Been Deemed Non-Essential
APRIL 13, 2020
- IP Deadlines and Fees Extended Under the CARES Act
- Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: Reintegrating Your Workforce in the New Normal
APRIL 10, 2020
- You Successfully Applied for and Received a PPP Loan Under the CARES Act: Now What?
- Safer at Home Order in L.A. Extended to May 15
- Maintaining Your Trade Secrets During the Coronavirus Crisis
APRIL 9, 2020
april 8, 2020
- Congress Looks to Bolster the PPP With Another $250B in Funding
- U.S. Treasury Provides Further Guidance to PPP Borrowers and Lenders
- L.A. Mayor Amends COVID-19-Related Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
april 7, 2020
- Clarifying the Paycheck Protection Program: Payment of Insurance Premiums and Loan Forgiveness under the CARES Act
April 3, 2020
april 2, 2020
april 1, 2020
March 31, 2020
march 30, 2020
- Large Employers Required to Pay Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave Under New L.A. Ordinance
- Insurance Coverage Potentially Triggered by COVID-19
- Attention Insurers: CDI Orders Mandatory Call for Business Interruption Coverage Information in the Wake of COVID-19
- DOL Is Requiring Employers to Post Families First Employee Rights Notice
March 27, 2020
- A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Coronavirus-Related State Assistance Programs: Who is Giving What to Whom (Part II)
- IRS Releases “People First Initiative” Temporarily Adjusting and Suspending Key Compliance Actions
- HHS Relaxing Enforcement of HIPAA to Facilitate Sharing of Information During the COVID-19 Crisis
March 26, 2020
march 25, 2020
march 24, 2020
- Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic: a Critical Business Review Checklist
- SBA Loans for Companies Impacted by Coronavirus
- SEC Relaxes Federal Proxy Rules for Annual Meetings
march 23, 2020
- Federal Reserve Responds Boldly to Coronavirus-Related Economic Downturn
- The Number of Jurisdictions Implementing Stay-at-Home Orders Is Increasing Exponentially
- Michelman & Robinson’s Guide to Coronavirus-Related Paid Sick Leave and Unemployment Insurance Laws in the Tri-State Area
MARCH 21, 2020
- New Jersey Orders Its Residents to Stay Home
- “Essential Businesses”— What if I am Stopped?
- The IRS and States Provide Tax Relief in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic
MARCH 20, 2020
- New York Governor’s PAUSE Order
- Illinois Governor’s Statewide Stay-at-Home Order
- Force Majeure Clauses in Commercial Real Estate Contracts
MARCH 19, 2020
- SEC Provides Regulatory Relief for Public Reporting Companies
- Student Loan Borrowers Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief, At Least Temporarily
- California Governor's Statewide Stay-At-Home Order
MARCH 18, 2020
- "Shelter in Place" Orders
- Telecommuting in the Age of Coronavirus
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Just Passed by the Senate and Signed Into Law by the President
MARCH 17, 2020
- M&R Coronavirus Risk Mitigation Team: A Multi-Disciplinary Legal Team Ready To Immediately Address A Host Of Coronavirus-Related Issues for Businesses, Quickly And Holistically
MARCH 16, 2020
MARCH 5, 2020
HHS Relaxing Enforcement of HIPAA to Facilitate Sharing of Information During the COVID-19 Crisis
MARCH 27, 2020
HIPAA—the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996—established a set of national standards to protect the privacy of a person’s physical or mental health or condition, and the health care provided to that individual. In fact, HIPAA’s privacy rules directly address the use and disclosure of a patient’s health information by health care providers, group health plans, and others. But in the shadow of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HHS (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has taken steps to ensure that hospitals and health care professionals are shielded from punishment when they share a patient’s coronavirus-related information without that patient’s prior approval, despite applicable HIPAA restrictions. Michelman & Robinson explains.
Q. How has HHS relaxed enforcement of HIPAA’s privacy rules?
A. In light of the recent federal declaration of a nationwide emergency concerning COVID-19, HHS—while maintaining the existing HIPAA privacy rules—is waiving sanctions and penalties against covered hospitals and health care workers for breaking them. This move essentially allows medical providers to:
- Speak with a patient’s family members or friends involved in the patient’s care without the patient’s consent
- Forego the requirement to distribute a notice of privacy practices
- Fail to honor a patient's request for privacy restrictions or confidential communications
Bottom line: HHS has decided that medical professionals will not be penalized for violating some HIPAA privacy rules in their efforts to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
Q. Even though HHS may not be enforcing certain regulations in coronavirus cases, what are the existing privacy rules regarding patient information that can be shared under HIPAA?
A. Without a patient’s prior authorization, health care providers are only supposed to disclose health information about the patient as necessary to treat the patient or to treat a different patient. For context, treatment includes the coordination or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers and others, consultation between providers, and the referral of patients for treatment.
Q. Under existing HIPAA rules, what information can health care providers collect or disclose to a public health authority, for example a local health department?
A. Hospitals and others may disclose protected patient information to the CDC or a state or local health department authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability. An example of the information that can be shared under these circumstances includes the reporting of disease or injury; reporting vital events, such as births or deaths; and conducting public health surveillance, investigations, or interventions.
Q. Does HIPAA allow for patient information to be disclosed to family, friends, and others?
A. Yes, but only with the patient’s consent. Health care providers may share protected health information with a patient’s family members, relatives, friends, or other persons identified by the patient as involved in the patient’s care. Of note, a disaster relief agency—or other entity covered under HIPAA—may share patient information (e.g., location, general condition, or even death) as necessary to identify, locate, and notify family members, guardians, or anyone else responsible for the patient’s care.
Q. Can patient disclosures be made to prevent or lessen a serious imminent threat such as infection by COVID-19?
A. Health care providers may share patient information with anyone as necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public. In such a circumstance, medical professionals may disclose a patient’s health information to family, friends, caregivers, and law enforcement without a patient’s permission. HIPAA expressly defers to the professional judgment of health care providers in making determinations about the nature and severity of threats to health and safety.
Q. Can a patient’s health information be shared with an employer or landlord to prevent or lessen a serious imminent threat of infection?
A. The HIPAA privacy rules are not clear in this regard, but if a health care provider concludes, in good faith, that disseminating such information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public, the answer may be “yes.” In terms of the coronavirus, which remains live on certain types of surfaces for a period of time and could infect a landlord’s residents or an employer’s workforce, it is easy to foresee how information about a patient’s COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms could be important to report, though dissemination decisions rest solely with medical providers or local authorized authorities.
Q. When patient information can be shared, how much is typically disclosed?
A. The patient information disclosed under HIPAA must be the “minimum necessary” to accomplish the purpose of sharing it. Toward that end, a health care provider may rely on representations from the CDC that the protected health information it requests about all patients exposed to or suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 is the “minimum necessary” for the public health purpose. There is a caveat to all of this: “minimum necessary” requirements do not apply to disclosures to health care providers for treatment purposes.
Q. Under HIPAA, what are the parameters of patient COVID-19 disclosures to first responders?
A. HIPAA permits hospitals and health care providers to disclose patient health information about an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 in accordance with any state law requiring the reporting of confirmed or suspected cases of infectious disease to public health officials. Likewise, such personal health information can be disclosed to a first responder who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease.
Finally, a person’s personal health information can be disclosed to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public, when such disclosure is made to those (e.g., first responders, fire department personnel, child welfare workers, mental health crisis services, or others charged with protecting the health or safety of the public) they believe can prevent or lessen the threat.
We are working diligently to keep our clients up to date on coronavirus-related developments. Nevertheless, these developments are changing daily and, in some cases even hourly, so it is important that you make sure you are dealing with the most current information. That being said, this alert is not offered, and should not be relied on, as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for guidance and counsel regarding any specific concern or situation.