Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Regulation Text.. § 164.506 Consent for uses or disclosures to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations.

01/05/2001

(a) Standard: consent requirement.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section, a covered health care provider must obtain the individual’s consent, in accordance with this section, prior to using or disclosing protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations.

(2) A covered health care provider may, without consent, use or disclose protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations, if:

(i) The covered health care provider has an indirect treatment relationship with the individual; or

(ii) The covered health care provider created or received the protected health information in the course of providing health care to an individual who is an inmate.

(3)(i) A covered health care provider may, without prior consent, use or disclose protected health information created or received under paragraph (a)(3)(i)(A)-(C) of this section to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations:

(A) In emergency treatment situations, if the covered health care provider attempts to obtain such consent as soon as reasonably practicable after the delivery of such treatment;

(B) If the covered health care provider is required by law to treat the individual, and the covered health care provider attempts to obtain such consent but is unable to obtain such consent; or

(C) If a covered health care provider attempts to obtain such consent from the individual but is unable to obtain such consent due to substantial barriers to communicating with the individual, and the covered health care provider determines, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the individual’s consent to receive treatment is clearly inferred from the circumstances.

(ii) A covered health care provider that fails to obtain such consent in accordance with paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section must document its attempt to obtain consent and the reason why consent was not obtained.

(4) If a covered entity is not required to obtain consent by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, it may obtain an individual’s consent for the covered entity’s own use or disclosure of protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations, provided that such consent meets the requirements of this section.

(5) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, a consent obtained by a covered entity under this section is not effective to permit another covered entity to use or disclose protected health information.

(b) Implementation specifications: general requirements.

(1) A covered health care provider may condition treatment on the provision by the individual of a consent under this section.

(2) A health plan may condition enrollment in the health plan on the provision by the individual of a consent under this section sought in conjunction with such enrollment.

(3) A consent under this section may not be combined in a single document with the notice required by § 164.520.

(4)(i) A consent for use or disclosure may be combined with other types of written legal permission from the individual (e.g., an informed consent for treatment or a consent to assignment of benefits), if the consent under this section:

(A) Is visually and organizationally separate from such other written legal permission; and

(B) Is separately signed by the individual and dated.

(ii) A consent for use or disclosure may be combined with a research authorization under § 164.508(f).

(5) An individual may revoke a consent under this section at any time, except to the extent that the covered entity has taken action in reliance thereon. Such revocation must be in writing.

(6) A covered entity must document and retain any signed consent under this section as required by § 164.530(j).

(c) Implementation specifications: content requirements. A consent under this section must be in plain language and:

(1) Inform the individual that protected health information may be used and disclosed to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations;

(2) Refer the individual to the notice required by § 164.520 for a more complete description of such uses and disclosures and state that the individual has the right to review the notice prior to signing the consent;

(3) If the covered entity has reserved the right to change its privacy practices that are described in the notice in accordance with § 164.520(b)(1)(v)(C), state that the terms of its notice may change and describe how the individual may obtain a revised notice;

(4) State that:

(i) The individual has the right to request that the covered entity restrict how protected health information is used or disclosed to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations;

(ii) The covered entity is not required to agree to requested restrictions; and

(iii) If the covered entity agrees to a requested restriction, the restriction is binding on the covered entity;

(5) State that the individual has the right to revoke the consent in writing, except to the extent that the covered entity has taken action in reliance thereon; and

(6) Be signed by the individual and dated.

(d) Implementation specifications: defective consents. There is no consent under this section, if the document submitted has any of the following defects:

(1) The consent lacks an element required by paragraph (c) of this section, as applicable; or

(2) The consent has been revoked in accordance with paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(e) Standard: resolving conflicting consents and authorizations.

(1) If a covered entity has obtained a consent under this section and receives any other authorization or written legal permission from the individual for a disclosure of protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations, the covered entity may disclose such protected health information only in accordance with the more restrictive consent, authorization, or other written legal permission from the individual.

(2) A covered entity may attempt to resolve a conflict between a consent and an authorization or other written legal permission from the individual described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section by:

(i) Obtaining a new consent from the individual under this section for the disclosure to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations; or

(ii) Communicating orally or in writing with the individual in order to determine the individual’s preference in resolving the conflict. The covered entity must document the individual’s preference and may only disclose protected health information in accordance with the individual’s preference.

(f)(1) Standard: joint consents. Covered entities that participate in an organized health care arrangement and that have a joint notice under § 164.520(d) may comply with this section by a joint consent.

(2) Implementation specifications: requirements for joint consents.

(i) A joint consent must:

(A) Include the name or other specific identification of the covered entities, or classes of covered entities, to which the joint consent applies; and

(B) Meet the requirements of this section, except that the statements required by this section may be altered to reflect the fact that the consent covers more than one covered entity.

(ii) If an individual revokes a joint consent, the covered entity that receives the revocation must inform the other entities covered by the joint consent of the revocation as soon as practicable.