Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule inhibit electronic health information exchange across different states or jurisdictions?
No. The Privacy Rule establishes a federal baseline of privacy protections and rights, which applies to covered entities consistently across state borders. The Privacy Rule, however, as required by HIPAA, does not preempt State laws that provide greater privacy protections and rights. Thus, as with covered entities that conduct business today on paper in a multi-jurisdictional environment, covered entities participating in electronic health information exchange need to be cognizant of States with more stringent privacy laws that will affect the exchange of electronic health information across State lines. In addition, other Federal laws also may apply more stringent or different requirements to such exchanges depending on the circumstances. Covered entities and health information organizations (acting as their business associates) which participate in multi-jurisdictional electronic health information exchange should establish privacy policies for the network that accommodate these variances.