Healthcare providers are essential partners in our efforts to protect the health information of Harris County residents.
Please note that HIPAA regulations do not affect the legal requirements in the Texas Health and Safety Code 81 for reporting of notifiable diseases and providing access to medical records when needed as part of a public health investigation.
Congress intended that this legislation not impede public health practice [42 USCA Section 1320d-7(b)]. HHS similarly recognizes the importance of continuing to authorize the sharing of protected health information for public health purposes [45 CFR Section 164.512(b)(l)(i)].
The privacy regulations authorize providers to disclose health information without an individual’s authorization for specified public health purposes [45 CFR Section 164.512 (a)].
Public health authorities have a long history of protecting and preserving the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI) obtained from patients and providers.
If HCPH staff request PHI over the phone, we will always identify ourselves and the patients about whom we are inquiring.
If HCPH staff request PHI in person, we will present an official HCPH badge for identification.
If HCPH staff request PHI via fax or mail, we will submit our request on official HCPH letterhead.
We ask that you convey this information to all levels of your staff to ensure compliance and cooperation. This includes providing access to paper and electronic medical records as necessary.
If you have any questions about HCPH request for release of information, please contact the HCPH Privacy Officer Lisa Dahm at (713) 274-5245, or HCPH Health Information Services at (713) 439-6025.