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Application of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (?Ç£HHS?Ç¥) issued guidance explaining that for purposes of the HIPAA privacy rule, the term ?Ç£spouse?Ç¥ includes individuals who are in a legally valid same-sex marriage sanctioned by a state, territory, or foreign jurisdiction; the term ?Ç£marriage?Ç¥ includes both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages; and the term ?Ç£family member?Ç¥ includes dependents of those marriages. Legally married same-sex spouses, regardless of where they live, are family members for the purposes of applying rules permitting HIPAA covered entities to share an individual?ÇÖs protected health information with a family member of the individual. The HHS guidance can be found here.

October 2014
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