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A Note on HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2: Dispelling the Myths about Justice-Health Information Sharing

NCJ Number
Adam K. Matz MS
Date Published
November 2014
5 pages
This is the report on a 2-day policy academy for three State pilot project sites (Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas) concerning the exchange of information between justice and health entities.
The goal of the meeting was to correct misconceptions about the sharing of such information and begin the strategic planning process for each site. At issue is the provisions of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and 42 CFR Part 2 of the Confidentiality of Substance Abuse Patient Records. These are two of the most commonly cited barriers to cross-domain information sharing. The current report dispels myths about these Federal regulations, demonstrates the value of justice-health exchanges, and references the many tools available from the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative to aid the prospect of these information exchanges. HIPAA's Lawful Custody Exception explicitly allows correctional institutions to access inmates' health information without consent if the information is necessary to provide health care to the individual or to ensure the safety and security of the inmate and others housed or working in the facility. This exception also applies to any emergency in which staff of a service provider agency are at risk (within the institution or the community) in providing services relevant to law enforcement and probation/parole agents. An entity covered by this exception must have documentation of session information for the purpose of reporting health care, requests for the review of health care records to perform services, or payment of health care claims. Probation/parole agencies are not classified as "covered entities."