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The HIPAA Privacy Rule would most likely not apply to these situations if the employee disclosed the information directly to the employer. If the employer obtained the information from the health care plan or provider, the Privacy Rule would apply as there would be protected health information (PHI) involved. In any event, before an employer discloses or announces any employee's personal and health-related information, it should follow the best practice of obtaining the employee's permission to do so.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) in its
Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule states:
"The Privacy Rule protects all
health information' held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information 'protected health information (PHI).' 'Individually identifiable health information' is information, including demographic data, that relates to:
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