HIPAA

medical examiner subpoena

  • 1.  medical examiner subpoena

    Posted 06-22-2020 11:04 AM
    Hello,

    We received a subpoena from a medical examiner's office requesting records of one of our deceased patients for the purpose of a death investigation.  The subpoena cited CFR 164.512.  I've read through it but cannot, in my mind, get a clear answer.  I'm assuming we can release those records, but would just like another opinion.

    I feel like I ask a lot of silly questions, but I always want to be sure.

    Thank you so much,

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    Penny Etter
    Corporate Compliance Officer
    Community Health of East Tennessee
    LaFollette,TN
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  • 2.  RE: medical examiner subpoena

    Posted 06-22-2020 11:07 AM
    Penny...remember this..UNDER HIPAA...there are only two instances when you ARE REQUIRED to disclose.  To the individual...and..o the Secretary.  That's it.  So keeping this in mind UNDER HIPAA...that should help you answer your question.

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  • 3.  RE: medical examiner subpoena

    Posted 06-22-2020 11:09 AM
    Reading the rules (THANKS FRANK for the easy searchable reference!), it says you can.  Doesn't say you MUST, though, as Frank pointed out.  But if you were just looking for clarification if the ME can ask for that information and whether you can supply it, I would say yes. 

    Margaret E. Baker, Esq., CHC

    General Counsel & Director of Compliance, HopeHealth, Inc.
    360 N. Irby Street | Florence, SC 29501
    O: 843.664.3634 |  C: 843.601.0301
    mbaker@hope-health.org | hope-health.org
     
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  • 4.  RE: medical examiner subpoena

    Posted 06-22-2020 11:35 AM
    Penny,

    i want to echo Margrett and Frank, you may but are not required to by HIPAA with two additions. 
    1) Your State may have additional requirements. If a release is permitted by HIPAA and required by the State I go with required.

    2) None of us on this board were born understanding all the ins and outs of HIPAA (Frank may be the exception proving that rule) we were all sitting exactly where you are some time in our careers. Our knowledge and comfort with the regulations has been just as hard won as yours. We are in tis board to share knowledge and perspective, sometimes providing, sometimes asking. Remember the only dumb, silly, or stupid questions are the opnes that go unasked. 

    Happy Monday. We get yet another fresh start!
    -Alex- 
    Alexander I Slosman, MHA, CHC, CHPC



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  • 5.  RE: medical examiner subpoena

    Posted 06-22-2020 02:06 PM
    I think the section they mean is 512(g)(1).  I'm guessing they use the ME subpoena as a way of making their request for the PHI rather than sending a request on official letterhead.

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    David Garrison
    Compliance/Privacy Officer
    SEARHC
    Juneau,AK
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