What are examples of "alternative treatments" that are excepted from the HIPAA Privacy Rule's definition of "marketing"?


Alternative treatments are treatments that are within the range of treatment options available to an individual. For example, it would be an alternative treatment communication if a doctor, in response to an inquiry from a patient with skin rash about the range of treatment options, mails the patient a letter recommending that the patient purchase various ointments and medications described in brochures enclosed with the letter.

Alternative treatment could also include alternative medicine. Thus, alternative treatments would include communications by a nurse midwife who recommends or sells vitamins and herbal preparations, dietary and exercise programs, massage services, music or other alternative types of therapy to her pregnant patients.



Date Created: 12/20/2002

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on July 26, 2013