Sharing COVID-19 Health Data

Scanning through the stimulus act just signed by the President (minutes ago) I noticed a provision calling authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue rules on sharing protected health information. The Senate version is nearly 900 pages so I’ll spare you the reading time. Here’s the provision:


Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall issue guidance on the sharing of patients’ protected health information pursuant to section 160.103 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations) during the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d) with respect to COVID-19, during the emergency involving Federal primary responsibility determined to exist by the President under section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5191(b)) with respect to COVID-19, and during the national emergency declared by the President under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) with respect to COVID-19. Such guidance shall include information on compliance with the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2 note) and applicable policies, including such policies that may come into effect during such emergencies.

I’d be very interested to learn what this formal guidance is intended or expected to cover and what t will mean for patients, holders of these medical records and for the general public. If you also have questions, comments or ideas about this, please share them here and I’ll keep updating this post as more information (or good questions) emerge.