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HIPAA and Law Enforcement

Guidelines for the Release of Protected Health Information in Oregon


A hospital’s first obligation to all patients is caring for their medical needs. When a patient is also involved in a criminal investigation, either as a suspect, witness or victim, that obligation remains the priority. Law enforcement officials, however, also have an important job to do that often involves seeking access to patients, their medical information or other evidence held by the hospital. These guidelines are established to help hospitals (health care practitioners) and law enforcement officials understand the patient access and information a hospital may provide to law enforcement, and in what circumstances.