Compliance Corner October 2021


HIPAA and Sharing Medical PHI During Hurricane Ida & Natural Disasters

(source:  Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – HIPAA Enforcement Agency)


Hurricanes, tornadoes and massive wildfires are natural disasters demonstrating the importance of ensuring accessibility to health and human services for everyone living in the United States.  This includes individuals who are limited English proficient or with disabilities in need of interpretation and translation services.


Being mindful of all segments of the community and taking reasonable steps to provide an equal opportunity to benefit from emergency response efforts will help ensure that the disaster management in all areas affected by Hurricane Ida is successful.


The Privacy Rule protects individually identifiable health information from unauthorized or impermissible uses and disclosures. The Rule is carefully designed to protect the privacy of health information, while allowing important health care communications to occur during times of crisis.  Follow OCR guidelines regarding the release of protected health information (PHI) for planning or response activities in emergency situations.


The Office for Civil Rights, provides a Checklist for Emergency Responders to ensure language access and effective communication is occurring during response and recovery.  The checklist includes recommendations, specific action steps, and resources to assist first responders in providing on-the-ground language assistance and communicating effectively in disasters. Practical tips range from how to identify language needs in a disaster-impacted community to effectively utilizing interpreters.


Visit OCR’s Civil Rights Emergency Preparedness page to learn how nondiscrimination laws apply during an emergency.


Nearly $1 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds to Modernize Health Centers and Support Underserved Communities Awarded

9/28/2021:  Close to $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funding was awarded to nearly 1,300 HRSA funded health centers to help support health care construction and renovation projects.  Recipients serve medically underserved and other vulnerable populations who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health conditions.  Health centers will use this funding for COVID-19 related capital needs, including constructing new facilities, renovating/expanding existing facilities, and purchasing new equipment.  Read the press release HERE.


ARP Rural Funding and Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 Application Now Open

The application is now open for both Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 and American Rescue Plan Rural payments. Providers are encouraged to begin their application as soon as possible to ensure they are able to meet the October 26, 2021 deadline. Visit this LINK for more information.

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