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I have a question about covered entities and business

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Hi, I have a...

Hi, I have a question about covered entities and business associates under HIPAA. I'm a provider covered entity. I have two consultants with whom I do business and have agreements. I've asked the two business associates to sign an agreement with each other so they can exchange PHI. One is rejecting the request claiming since they don't do business directly, they can't execute the agreement. I view this as a covered entity, business associate, contractor scenario. Is this viable?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Texas.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No. I'm simply trying to figure out who is correct. I've searched everywhere and can't find anything that addresses this scenario. Everything I've found addresses a typical subcontractor, (e.g., hired entity) scenario that have a direct business connection.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No, I think that's it.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
10/5/2017
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,125
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly

100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. Additionally, most people believe a phone call is the easiest and most efficient way to handle problems. Accordingly, you will receive an automatic phone call request. If you would like a phone call, please click “Accept” when prompted.

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Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Thank you for your patience. Generally, a hired entity who will have access to PHI will be covered under HIPAA guidelines. If a partner has no association with the PHI at all, then HIPAA will not cover them. A typical scenario would be a company that provides window washing to a hospital. They will probably not be subject to PHI at all during their jobs so they may not need to sign an agreement regarding PHI. However, if a doctor, nurse, janitor, or any other person who may have contact with a patient is contracted with the covered entity, then HIPAA guidelines will apply. Accordingly, it's not required for your business associate to sign anything regarding sharing PHI. However, keep in mind that if they are sharing PHI and a patient finds out, then you may be on the hook. You may want to advise your associate that so long as they are exposed to PHI, you will be held liable, and if you're held liable, then you can't do business.

Also, although I provided an initial answer, it’s important that you are 100% satisfied. If you feel I have done so, please rate me 5 stars and let me know if you have any follow up questions. As a side note, you can also click here in the future to request me individually.

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