HIPAA Privacy Rule & Highly Contagious Communicable Diseases
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
Life & Health Insurance Agents live & die by HIPAA laws that protect the Personally Identifiable Health Information of Patients. Duty-bound by ETHICS, when we sit one-on-one with a Client, they share with us the mostly deeply personal details of their Medical information.
For example, when we do a Medication Management Review to see if the persons prescriptions are in the Plan's Prescription Drug Formulary, it is to determine the Suitability of a particular plan for that person.
Suitability of Coverage is huge for Insurance Agents of all kinds. In Medicare, this information isn't used to deny Coverage based on answers to Health Questions because the language of Pre-Existing Conditions does not exist in Medicare unlike in Life Insurance.
With Life Insurance, on the other hand Pre-Existing Conditions can & do render a person Uninsurable & Policies can be denied.
With all kinds of Insurance, Agents are REQUIRED to protect the person's PHI - Personally Identifiable Health Information.
This speaks to the reason WHY HIPAA Laws exist.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 recognizes that the release of Private Health Information, like for instance if a person was an HIV/AIDS patient, it would render them as a Societal Leper.
When my daughter was born in the early 1990s at the beginning of the AIDS scare, we almost lost a life-long friend that my children's father had known since childhood, a gay man whose partner was HIV-Positive.
The AIDS fear was very real & not much was known about it in terms of contagion or transmission methods, & my Ex REFUSED to let our life-long friend hold my baby daughter.
So this was the climate of the Global Health Crisis that was AIDS. People Panicked.
Patients couldn't get jobs. Housing.
Homophobia set in like never before & people were attacked, harassed, bullied & beaten.
Today, we know that we really have to be bending-over backwards to come down with AIDS.
We know how it is spread.
We also now have treatments that can save lives from this deadly disease.
So this was the most important wake-up call in modern times that our Country needed to prepare for the rise of future Pandemics & have a system in place.
Covid-19, on the other hand IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.
It IS spread through casual contact.
Apparently, the current Administration COULD HAVE prevented the Covid-19 Crisis from spreading in this Country had precautions been taken early & if several glaring mistakes had not been made.
Lisa Monaco on Cuomo Primetime
The Correlation Between HIV/AIDS and Covid19 beg some important ETHICAL questions between Privacy & Who has the Right to Know.
Our Health Care system, the Doctors, Nurses & First Responders are over-whelmed & put themselves at risk to save us.
Over the weekend, pictures of makeshift Morgues springing up most notably in New York were circulating online.
:What about the Morticians who are at risk of infection from contaminated corpses?
It has been suggested online that these people are not informed as to Cause of Death when they are called to retrieve the body of the deceased.
HealthCARE Professionals of all kinds are privy to this type of information all the time.
We are TRUSTED to keep it confidential on a Need-to-Know basis.
As someone who has worked in the Death Care Industry, I think Morticians have a Right -to-Know if they are picking up a Highly Contagious corpse.
I'm quite sure someone on the front lines of this is already on it, but if not, can someone look into the HIPAA Guidelines with respect to giving Morticians Informed Consent ?
From the Department of Health & Human Services Website:
45 CFR 164.512(b)
The HIPAA Privacy Rule recognizes the legitimate need for public health authorities and others responsible for ensuring public health and safety to have access to protected health information to carry out their public health mission. The Rule also recognizes that public health reports made by covered entities are an important means of identifying threats to the health and safety of the public at large, as well as individuals. Accordingly, the Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information without authorization for specified public health purposes.
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