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IMPACT OF THE TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION GA-0519 ON MEDICAL
INFORMATION & HIPAA
MacKoul, Esq. HIPAA Solutions, LC
A NOTE TO THE READER: Please note this information is offered
for informational purposes only and is NOT intended as legal
advice. Please refer to an Attorney for any questions relating to
the content of this document.
Three questions need to be asked to understand the impact of
the AG’s opinion on medical information and HIPAA. This article
will ask and answer those questions which may assist readers in
understanding the impact of the AG’s opinion on medical
information and HIPAA. .
HOW DOES THE RECENT TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION (GA-0519)
RELATE TO HIPAA?
The simplest way to understand how this opinion relates to
medical information about individuals is to understand that the
Health Information Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA
Privacy Rule, protects against the illegal use and disclosure of
individual medical records, which usually contain
That’s a clear example of how preventing the distribution of
SSN’s can affect the distribution of, or posting of medical
records to the Internet by counties, cities, School districts, and
private organizations across Texas and the nation.
However, there are other significant connections that must be
made between this AG opinion that all governmental entities,
officials, and private entities in the Texas must be aware of
including potential criminal penalties for the illegal
distribution of both SSN’s and medical information.
IS MEDICAL INFORMATION CONSIDERED CONFIDENTIAL UNDER PIA, &
DOES HIPAA APPLY TO TEXAS?
The Attorney General’s opinion, correctly states that Social
Security Numbers are considered “confidential by law,” thus not
disclosable under the Texas Public Information Act, (or the PIA).
This opinion was based on established law on the State and Federal
levels, for example the opinion cited the “Federal Social Security
Act,” of 1990. . . continued on
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