Habib Ilahi Authors Opinions on COVID-19 Impacts to HIPAA, Public Welfare

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Health care litigator Habib Ilahi and attorney Rachel V. Rose of the Rose Law Firm, P.C. published an opinion in Law360’s Expert Analysis section focusing on issues related to coronavirus patients and public disclosure of information.

“A concern that has been raised is the balancing of an individual’s rights versus the public’s access to data,” Habib and Rose wrote. “The fundamental questions, which this article addresses, are as follows: (1) how does HIPAA apply during a declared emergency, whether it’s the coronavirus or a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey; and (2) what information may be permissibly disclosed to the public?”

Habib and Rose take into account the history and use of HIPAA laws during health crises, as well as how the government uses and distributes information pertinent to public health and welfare.

“Any erosion of disclosure protections afforded to patients regarding their protected health information would undermine the benefits to society. The laws and guidance have safeguards in place to balance these two competing interests of patient privacy and public welfare.”

As a former federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice, Habib counsels business entities and individuals in highly regulated industries through complex health care, procurement, and other government enforcement investigations and litigation, as well as through general white collar criminal and civil defense matters. He has worked extensively on matters involving HIPAA, the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law.

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