Should We Relax HIPAA Regulations to Allow Release of Information to Family Members When Someone Overdoses?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountabiity Act (HIPAA) regulates the confidentiality of health records. Presently, healthcare records cannot be released without the informed consent of a patient. Governor Chris Christie, who is leading an opioid task force, was asked to consider relaxing HIPAA regulations in order to allow family members to be informed of a member's non-lethal overdose. This knowledge could open the door to treatment options. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss their opinions.

Discussion Guide:

If you were to overdose and received services from a healthcare provider, would you want that information released to your family?

Under what circumstances would you want your family to be informed of your overdose?

What are the pros and cons of relaxing HIPAA regulations in the case of overdose?

Narcan (also known as Naltrexone) is a life saving measure. Do you have Narcan available? Have you instructed your family and associates in how to use it?

Supplemental Reading:

Erin Mershon and Andrew Joseph, Do Family Members Have a Right to Know When a Loved one Overdoses on Opioids? https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/13/overdoses-family-notification/