HHS issues HIPAA guidance for audio-only telehealth services

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights earlier this week issued guidance on how Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-covered health care providers and health plans can comply with privacy, security and breach notification requirements when using remote communication technologies to provide audio-only telehealth services. The guidance addresses questions that HHS has received about whether, and in what circumstances, audio-only telehealth is permissible under HIPAA rules. The notification will be effective until HHS declares that the COVID-19 public health emergency no longer exists or upon the expiration date of the declared public health emergency.