Disclosure Requests for Legal Proceedings

Disclosure of protected health information (PHI) for use in legal proceedings is permitted under certain circumstances.  If a covered entity receives a court order that is signed by a judge, requesting PHI, it should comply with the order and provide the information that is specifically requested.

If the practice receives a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process that is not accompanied by a signed order of the court, certain satisfactory assurances must be obtained from the requesting party prior to disclosure of the requested information.

In these instances, the requesting party must provide the practice with either of the following:

  • Satisfactory assurances that reasonable efforts have been made to give the individual (whose information has been requested) notice of the request; or
  • Satisfactory assurances that the party seeking such information has made reasonable efforts to secure a qualified protective order (see below) that will guard the confidentiality of the information.

Please refer to the article, Requests for Disclosure of PHI for Legal Proceedings, in the April issue of the Advisor®, for more information regarding satisfactory assurances and documentation requirements.