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Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA

Medical Privacy - National Standards to Protect the Privacy of Personal Health Information

What's New | Background and General Information | Privacy Regulation | Technical Assistance
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Educational Materials

(Check the Web site periodically for future guidance.)

  • Emergency Preparedness Planning and Response - June 27, 2006
  • Hurricane Katrina Bulletin #2: Compliance Guidance and Enforcement Statement [PDF - 148KB] - September 9, 2005
  • Hurricane Katrina Bulletin: Disclosing PHI in Emergency Situations [PDF - 30KB] - September 1, 2005
  • Sign up for OCR Privacy Listserv
  • Using OCR resources to fight myths about the Privacy Rule
    Letter to health care providers explaining Privacy Rule guidance and technical assistance materials available on the OCR website
  • The Privacy Rule and Alcohol/Substance Abuse Progams -- June 04

    The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published new guidance on the Privacy Rule to help alcohol and substance abuse progams and others understand their responsibilities under both the Privacy Rule and 42 CFR Part 2 (confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records regulation).

  • The Privacy Rule and Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act Grantees -- April 04

    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has published new guidance on the Privacy Rule to help Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act grantees and others understand their responsibilities under the Rule.

  • OCR Powerpoint presentations from HHS' National Conferences on the HIPAA Privacy Rule February/March 2003 in San Diego, Atlanta, New York and Chicago
      Introduction [PDF - 458K]
      Covered Entity, Business Associate, and Organizational Options [PDF - 1.1M]
      Protected Health Information, Uses and Disclosures, and Minimum Necessary [PDF - 935 K]
      Research [PDF - 625K]
      Administrative Requirements [PDF - 618K]
      Compliance and Enforcement [PDF - 498K]

  • OCR issues caution about misleading marketing on HIPAA training
  • Guidance for writing plain language notices. This link is designed to help the writer of a Notice of Privacy Practices create a notice that does not require a high literacy level. The document describes principles for writing plain English, clear layout, and presentation. It also suggests some easily understandable words and phrases that can be used.
  • HHS' National Institute of Health publishes "Protecting Personal Health Information in Research: Understanding the HIPAA Privacy Rule" describing how the Privacy Rule applies to research.


  • Privacy Guidance about Authorizations for Research and Institutional Review Boards [PDF - 1M]


  • New OCR Summary of HIPAA Privacy Rule posted [RTF - 738K] | [PDF - 372K]
    • This is a summary of key elements of the Privacy Rule including who is covered, what information is protected, uses and disclosures of protected health information, and individual rights provided in the Rule.

  • View and Search Health Information Privacy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) -- To use this new search tool:
    • Click this link (or the Health Information Privacy FAQs link at the top of OCR Privacy web pages), then either (1) type a keyword(s) in the Search Text field and click the Search button, or (2) select a topic from the Sub-category dropdown list and click the Search button; or
    • You can directly access the FAQs from any HHS web page by clicking the Questions? link at the top right corner of the page, then:
      -To view all Privacy Rule FAQs, select "Privacy of Health Information/HIPAA" from the Category dropdown list and click the Search button.
      -To view particular FAQs, after selecting "Privacy of Health Information/HIPAA" from the Category dropdown list, either (1) type a keyword(s) in the Search Text field and click the Search button, or (2) select a topic from the Sub-category dropdown list and click the Search button.

  • How to File a Health Information Privacy Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published new guidance on the Privacy Rule to help public health agencies and others understand how the Rule impacts public health practices, and how covered entities can share protected health information for activities related to public health. [PDF - 241K] [HTML]

  • OCR Guidance Explaining Significant Aspects of the Privacy Rule - December 4, 2002


  • Am I a covered entity?   HHS helps answer this question with a new easy-to-use question and answer decision tool. - October 25, 2002
  • Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information - Final Changes to Rule, HHS Fact Sheet, 8/9/02 (HTML)


  • Sample Business Associate Contract Provisions

Click on the mailbox to submit a question regarding the Privacy Rule: mailbox image

Last revised: September 13, 2007

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