The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights Friday released guidance clarifying how health care providers can share health information with a patient’s family members, friends and legal representatives in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act when the patient may be in crisis and incapacitated, such as during an opioid overdose. “We know that support from family members and friends is key to helping people struggling with opioid addiction, but their loved ones can’t help if they aren’t informed of the problem,” said OCR Director Roger Severino. “Our clarifying guidance will give medical professionals increased confidence in their ability to cooperate with friends and family members to help save lives.”

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