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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Patient privacy

Federal COVID-19 Emergency Actions
Provides an overview of telehealth-related federal policies taken in response to COVID-19, when these actions will expire, and what actions could be taken to make these changes permanent.
Date: 05/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Center for Connected Health Policy: The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center
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OCR Update on HIPAA and COVID-19
Recording of an April 24, 2020, webinar on HIPAA privacy and health information technology security issues related to COVID-19. Discusses several U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights actions during the pandemic, including notifications of enforcement discretion and guidance for telehealth remote communications, first responders and public health authorities, and other stakeholders.
Date: 04/2020
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights
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AHRQ's Easy-to-Understand Telehealth Consent Form
Provides a sample telehealth consent form and guidance for healthcare providers to utilize with patients. Includes information on how to adapt the consent form prior to use and how to document informed consent.
Date: 04/2020
Type: Website
Sponsoring organization: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency
Discusses the enforcement discretion that the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will use during to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency related to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requirements. Explains that OCR will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered healthcare providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the public health emergency. Identifies applications that can be used and those that should not be used.
Date: 03/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: HHS Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Intergovernmental Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission Advisory Recommendation No: 2019-2 in the Matter of State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Regulatory and Other Barriers and Incentives to Telemedicine
Examines the technical infrastructure necessary for effective telemedicine delivery in state, territorial, tribal, and local (rural and urban) areas. Discusses the regulatory barriers including legislation, licensing, reimbursement, malpractice insurance, and privacy that obstruct its development and utilization, and offers recommendations addressing these barriers. Appendix A presents case studies of broadband and telehealth development in several states and territories.
Date: 11/2019
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: Federal Communications Commission, Intergovernmental Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission
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Infectious Diseases Society of America Position Statement on Telehealth and Telemedicine as Applied to the Practice of Infectious Diseases
Position statement to educate members of the Infectious Diseases Society of America on telehealth and to promote use of this technology in clinical care, research, and education. Explores the potential to increase access to subspecialist care in rural areas, and describes reimbursement policies of private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid, for telehealth services provided to patients in rural areas. Also describes HIPAA requirements for telehealth interactions and protected health information.
Author(s): Jeremy D. Young, Rima Abdel-Massih, Thomas Herchline, et al.
Citation: Clinical Infectious Diseases, 68(9), 1437-1443
Date: 05/2019
Type: Document
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Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices: Managing Threats and Protecting Patients
Offers cybersecurity guidelines for healthcare organizations to help reduce cybersecurity risks in response to a mandate from the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. Addresses cybersecurity vulnerabilities, best practices, and assessment. Includes a technical volume on cybersecurity practices for small healthcare organizations.
Date: 12/2018
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
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Health Disparities: Closing the Gaps Using Faith-Based Institutions
Explores the role of religious institutions in rural communities, particularly related to promoting and enhancing health and wellness activities. Discusses barriers and concerns to utilizing faith-based institutions, provides program examples, and makes policy recommendations for improving current and future relationships. Also addresses the implications of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and concerns around protected health information in the faith-based setting.
Author(s): Dallas Martin, Joy Williams, Patricia Crawford, Nikki King
Date: 04/2017
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Health Association
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Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, 2015-2020
Outlines federal goals, plans, and priorities as they relate to health information technology (HIT) and its application across the U.S. Discusses federal efforts to improve broadband access and HIT infrastructure in all areas, including rural and tribal areas.
Additional links: One-Page Summary
Date: 09/2015
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
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Behavioral Health Data Exchange Consortium: ONC State Health Policy Consortium Project
Discusses pilot programs for behavioral health data exchange between states. State laws that provide privacy protections have created challenges for sharing behavioral health information electronically. Reports that New Mexico completed an intrastate pilot test for the transfer of information between two clinics (one behavioral health and the other primary care) in a rural setting.
Date: 06/2014
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
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