Joint Law Enforcement – Public Health Investigations: The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Law Enforcement Exceptions to the Rule – 5/20/2014

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Speakers: David Cudmore; Michael McNulty; Mary Jo Vernon, RN, BSN; Joseph Waeckerle, MD, FACEP; Jill Sheets, MPH; Laura Jevitt, MPH

Objectives:The webinar described FBI roles and responsibilities for investigating the possibility of a criminal or terrorism nexus for patients with unusual diagnoses (e.g., anthrax, plague, brucellosis). The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects patient information; however the Department of Health and Human Services specifies certain law enforcement exceptions to the Rule. An overview of the law enforcement exceptions to HIPAA was provided as well as discussion about when it is appropriate to contact law enforcement and who to contact. Additionally, there were real-world examples from positive and productive public health and law enforcement relationships in the field that touch upon successful methods that have been employed.