[NFBWATlk] FW: OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency

Judy Jones sonshines59 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 29 16:55:27 UTC 2020

Hi, Ben,

Thanks for passing this on.  It is a good bulletin and enforces the stand
that should be taken.

Speaking in practicalities, though, I don't believe that rights enforcement
is at the top of everyone's mind in the medical community right now.  NY, NJ
and CT are under major travel restrictions now, and hospitals are all

The ventilator situation is improving as many companies are retooling and
the Defense Act is in force, (I'm not sure I have that act's name correct,
but the CEO of GM motors was talking this morning, and is encouraging
companies that can to step up and start manufacturing, or producing parts
for PPE.

I was thinking about the Lighthouse, and, this gentleman says they are
needing more entities to step up and offer.  He says, the first thing is to
contact the Whitehouse who can plug their company in and give them "Defense"

I remember hearing that during World War II, in some places, blind people
were put to work inspecting airplane props to check for manufacturing nicks
and flaws that could impact the performance when in use.

Surely there are things blind people can be put to work doing in defense of
our country.

I don't think our culture remembers what it takes to unify the way we had to
during WWII.  Then, the enemy was visible, now it is not, but just as

Thanks for reading these comments.


"Embrace each day with His mercies and blessings."

-----Original Message-----
From: NFBWATlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Prows,
Bennett (HHS/OCR) via NFBWATlk
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2020 7:19 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Cc: Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR)
Subject: [NFBWATlk] FW: OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA
Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency

Thought some on this list would be interested.


Bennett Prows

From: OCR HIPAA Privacy Rule information distribution
Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2020 6:24 AM
Subject: OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities
That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency

[cid:image001.jpg at 01D21993.C2F356E0]

March 28, 2020
OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply
During the COVID-19 Emergency

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) is issuing a bulletin to ensure that entities covered
by civil rights authorities keep in mind their obligations under laws and
regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color,
national origin, disability, age, sex, and exercise of conscience and
religion in HHS-funded programs, including in the provision of health care
services during COVID-19.
OCR is particularly focused on ensuring that covered entities do not
unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities when making
decisions about their treatment during the COVID-19 health care emergency.
OCR enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act, the Age Discrimination Act, and Section 1557 of the
Affordable Care Act which prohibits discrimination in HHS funded health
programs or activities.  These laws, like other civil rights statutes OCR
enforces, remain in effect. As such, persons with disabilities should not be
denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of
life, or judgments about a person's relative "worth" based on the presence
or absence of disabilities or age. Decisions by covered entities concerning
whether an individual is a candidate for treatment should be based on an
individualized assessment of the patient and his or her circumstances, based
on the best available objective medical evidence.
"Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from
ruthless utilitarianism," said Roger Severino, OCR Director.  "HHS is
committed to leaving no one behind during an emergency, and helping health
care providers meet that goal." "Persons with disabilities, with limited
English skills, and older persons should not be put at the end of the line
for health care during emergencies."  Severino added.
The Bulletin may be found at:
https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocr-bulletin-3-28-20 -
Today's bulletin also reminds health care covered entities of unprecedented
HIPAA flexibilities recently made available by OCR in response to the
COVID-19 emergency concerning:

  *   OCR's Notice of Enforcement Discretion allowing providers to serve
patients where they are through commonly used apps like FaceTime, Skype, and
Zoom to provide telehealth remote communications:

  *   Guidance that empowers first responders and others who receive
protected health information about individuals who have tested positive or
been exposed to COVID-19 to help keep both first responders and the public

  *   Guidance on how health care providers can share information with the
CDC, family members of patients, and others, to help address the COVID-19
virus -
For general information regarding COVID-19, please see:
https://www.coronavirus.gov/ ###

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violated your health information privacy rights or otherwise violated the
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