Nobody Waived the HIPAA Privacy Law in Orlando After All

June 14, 2016 7:39 PM

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On Sunday, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer told television reporters that he had asked the White House to waive the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so doctors could inform the families of victims about their loved ones. At WIRED, I wrote a story explaining why waiving HIPAA was actually not necessary in this case—but why worried healthcare providers might want it waived anyways. HIPAA is a confusing law that has the potential to slow down care in an emergency.

Also confusing: the existence of the waiver itself. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services—whose secretary has the authority to waive HIPAA—emailed journalists that the initial reports were wrong: HIPAA was not waived because it was not necessary in this case. (HHS did not respond to WIR...

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