Are location information services of collection agencies, which are required under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, permitted under the HIPAA Privacy Rule?
“Payment” is broadly defined as activities by health plans or health care providers to obtain premiums or obtain or provide reimbursements for the provision of health care. The activities specified are by way of example and are not intended to be an exclusive listing. Billing, claims management, collection activities and related data processing are expressly included in the definition of “payment.” See the definition of “payment” at 45 CFR 164.501.
Obtaining information about the location of the individual is a routine activity to facilitate the collection of amounts owed and the management of accounts receivable, and, therefore, would constitute a payment activity. See 45 CFR 164.501. The covered entity and its business associate would also have to comply with any limitations placed on location information services by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Federal Trade Commission).