HIPAA and Patient Telephone Calls

July 30, 2018

 

The Federal Communication Commission has issued a Declaratory Verdict and Order to declare the laws in relation to HIPAA and patient phone calls.

Some healthcare sellers have had the problem comprehending the laws in relation to HIPAA and patient phone calls, and how the laws abide by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Now, 19 years and 24 years after these Acts were passed in law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order to tackle any possible misunderstanding.

The ruling clarifies the laws in relation to HIPAA and patient phone calls completed by protected units and their Business Associates. The ruling also pardons protected units and Business Units from specific TCPA law in certain conditions.

Patients and HIPAA Compliant Automatic Calls

An area in which the verdict is still ambiguous on is HIPAA compliant automatic phone calls to people. Even though going into detail concerning what comprises an autodialing appliance, the FCC ruling does little to settle HIPAA compliance in relation to the 2013 prohibition on phone calls and text mails to mobile phones from an automatic dialing system.

Prior to the prohibition, consent could be understood by a current relationship between the sender and the receiver (the healthcare provider and the patient). From October 16, 2013 to now, the FCC needs prior written, clear approval from the individual getting phone calls on a mobile phone from an autodialing appliance.

Even though an exemption was made for HIPAA compliant automatic phone calls to patients’ phone lines, healthcare groups must still evade liability for violations of TCPA by asking their patients for written approval to get messages on the mobile phones that might have been generated by an autodialing appliance.

Automatic appointment reminders broadcast to mobile appliances through a third-party texting facility are allowed under the FCC declaration provided that the texting facility supplier completes a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). It is expected that the condition in relation to HIPAA compliant automatic phone calls to patients will be tackled soon.