Guidelines for OCR enforcement discretion for telehealth remote communications

Jon Brown
Jon Brown

What Is Telehealth?

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines telehealth as:

The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store- and-forward imaging, streaming media, and landline and wireless communications.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has made it easier for all covered healthcare providers to participate in telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. Their notification states:

The Office for Civil Rights will not impose penalties for noncompliance with HIPAA Rules in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth using such non- public facing audio or video communication products.

IMPORTANT: Penalties will only not be imposed for telehealth related items. Penalties for non- compliance with other sections of the HIPAA regulations will still apply!

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