Friday, May 20, 2016

Discussion Point: Releasing Patient Information to a Pharmacy, Relating to Drug Use

I have a question for all of you.

A Doctor's office received a fax from a pharmacy (for the sake of clarification, let’s just say it was CVS) asking questions about one of their patients. The Doctor's office had treated the patient for one specific procedure and had prescribed medication (non-refillable) relating only to that procedure. The Pharmacy’s fax listed numerous prescriptions from various other sources that seemed excessive they and were apparently concerned the patient may be abusing these prescriptions in one way or another. The pharmacy wanted the Doctor's office to answer a questioner about the patient, their treatment, diagnosis, etc. A pharmacy is considered a Covered Entity but do they have the right, under HIPAA, to ask the Dr. these types of questions about the patient that are not necessarily related to a specific Treatment per se?
What are your thoughts based on your understanding of HIPAA and what limits, if any, are there on what the pharmacy may ask of the practice?  Should the pharmacy be able to ask any questions they want or is there a limit or minimum necessary, before the Privacy boundary is crossed?

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