A Few Helpful HIPAA Basics for Lawyers

By Jeff Burtka posted 07-19-2021 15:30


COVID-19 has exposed how many people, including some lawyers, misunderstand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Armchair lawyers who do not know what a covered entity is repeatedly and erroneously have argued that HIPAA governs private businesses’ mask and vaccine requirements.

Even without COVID-19, lawyers can come across HIPAA questions in numerous situations, including issuing subpoenas, deposing medical experts, and estate planning and administration. HIPAA’s details can be complicated, but there are HIPAA basics that are helpful for lawyers to understand:

For more information, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website has guidance about HIPAA, and 45 CFR 160.103 contains definitions for most HIPAA terms.