Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Final Privacy Rule Preamble.. Health Care.

12/28/2000

We proposed to define "health care" to mean the provision of care, services, or supplies to a patient and to include any: (1) preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, maintenance, or palliative care, counseling, service, or procedure with respect to the physical or mental condition, or functional status, of a patient or affecting the structure or function of the body; (2) sale or dispensing of a drug, device, equipment, or other item pursuant to a prescription; or (3) procurement or banking of blood, sperm, organs, or any other tissue for administration to patients.

The final rule revises both the NPRM definition and the definition as provided in the Transactions Rule, to now mean "care, services, or supplies related to the health of an individual. Health care includes the following:

(1) Preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, maintenance, or palliative care, and counseling, service, assessment, or procedure with respect to the physical or mental condition, or functional status, of an individual or that affects the structure or function of the body; and

(2) Sale or dispensing of a drug, device, equipment, or other item in accordance with a prescription.

We delete the term "providing" from the definition to delineate more clearly the relationship between "treatment,"as the term is defined in § 164.501, and "health care." Other key revisions include adding the term "assessment" in subparagraph (1) and deleting proposed subparagraph (3) from the rule. Therefore the procurement or banking of organs, blood (including autologous blood), sperm, eyes or any other tissue or human product is not considered to be health care under this rule and the organizations that perform such activities would not be considered health care providers when conducting these functions. As described in § 164.512(h), covered entities are permitted to disclose protected health information without individual authorization, consent, or agreement (see below for explanation of authorizations, consents, and agreements) as necessary to facilitate cadaveric donation.