November 26, 2008

On November 25, 2008, the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education issued Joint Guidance on the Application of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Health Records.  The Joint Guidance can be downloaded from
Briefly summarizing, the Joint Guidance addresses the relationship between the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).The Joint Guidance gives a brief overview of each statute, and explains where FERPA and HIPAA intersect in the school setting.  The Joint Guidance contains a thorough Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, which provides guidance to schools on questions regarding the applicability of these statutes to post-secondary institutions, and the scope of the "emergency exceptions" to FERPA and HIPAA that allow the sharing of otherwise-confidential information under certain circumstances. 
If you have any questions about the Joint Guidance, FERPA, HIPAA, or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Ahlers attorney with whom you normally work.

The Ahlers & Cooney Higher Education Practice Group


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