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HIPAA Quick Reference Guide For Employees

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3.0 Highly Confidential Information

I've heard the term "highly confidential information." What's the difference between "highly confidential information" and "protected health information?"

Illinois state law has provided strict protection of certain health information, which we refer to as "highly confidential."  We are required to treat this information with special care.

How do I know if the patient information I work with each day is considered "highly confidential?"

Highly Confidential
Information includes:

Would I do anything differently when handling highly confidential information vs. PHI?

Extra precautions should be taken with Highly Confidential Information such as:

Additional guidelines are available in the Minimum Necessary Policy on the HIPAA website at: - click on A05-31 - Minimum Necessary Requirements.

I have a signed form authorizing the use and disclosure of information to a patient's assistant.  Can I release "Highly Confidential Information?"

First, you must determine if you need a consent to release medical information form or an authorization to release medical information form.  Then, the form that you need must specifically identify the particular Highly Confidential Information that you may release.  For example, if you have a signed authorization releasing the patient's mental health records from January 1, 2005 through the present to his lawyer, then you may release the mental health information for the specified time.

For questions, please contact Legal Affairs at 773-702-1057.

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Accounting of Disclosures

HIPAA Privacy Review

HIPAA Reference Sheet

Quick Reference Guide

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