Knowledge Library

California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act

When questions arise around the confidentiality of patient records and other healthcare information, providers typically invoke HIPAA- the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which establishes standards for the privacy and security of protected health information. However, HIPAA regulations do not cover all aspects of patient confidentiality, and the rules only apply to “covered entities” who perform certain electronic transactions (although virtually all providers fall into this category). Most importantly, to the extent that state law addresses the same issues as HIPAA, the more “controlling” or limiting law applies. It is therefore important for healthcare providers to...

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Current Status of COVID-19 Testing

As the nation continues to struggle to manage the COVID-19 (COVID) pandemic, one crucial element to mitigating the crisis- testing- has continued to present a variety of challenges to health care providers.  Barriers to effective COVID testing include shortages of testing supplies, doubts about accuracy, and evolving recommendations around who should be tested.    Types of Tests  Currently, available COVID tests analyze tissue or fluid samples to assess the current or past presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  The types of tests include molecular, antigen, and antibody testing. Most of the COVID-19 testing currently being conducted in the U.S. uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to amplify and detect the presence of viral DNA.   Each type of test has its advantages and drawbacks.  The FDA published the table below to help inform both providers and the public about the various types of testing being completed in response...

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Masks in the Medical Practice: Can Patients Refuse?

Public health officials and regulatory bodies have been clear that those working, visiting or being treated in a healthcare setting should wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While face masks and their overall effectiveness have been questioned by some, wearing a cloth face covering has been shown to reduce the rates of COVID transmission in the population and may even reduce the severity of illness for those who are infected. For this reason, it is recommended that all healthcare providers require patients to wear face masks when they are receiving medical care. Unfortunately, some patients are unable...

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Telehealth and Telepsychiatry Consent Forms

Telehealth is growing exponentially in popularity as a method of providing safe, effective medical care from remote distances. Many states require physicians to obtain and document patients’ informed consent for receiving their care through telehealth. While not expressly required by law, a telehealth consent form is a good way to document informed consent, while providing patients with information about the process so that they can make good decisions around their medical care. MIEC has developed sample consent forms for our members to use when delivering telehealth or telepsychiatry services, based in part on information from the American Telehealth Association and...

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Idaho New Law Alert – July 2020

Laws are effective July 1, 2020 unless otherwise noted.   Drug History Review Requirement (effective October 1, 2020) Prior to prescribing a schedule II, III, or IV opioid analgesic or benzodiazepine for outpatient use, a prescriber (or the prescriber’s delegate) must review the patient’s prescription drug history for the preceding twelve months and “evaluate the data for indicators of drug diversion or misuse.” This requirement does NOT apply to prescriptions in a quantity intended to last no more than three days, nor does it apply at the scene of an emergency, at a skilled nursing facility, or in hospice care....

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