Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters that he is in talks with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice about easing HIPAA restrictions in situations where individuals have experienced an opioid overdose. Gov. Christie chairs the presidential commission on opioid abuse. Speaking to reporters, Gov. Christie expressed an interest in letting “parents and loved ones know when people have been reversed with Narcan,” referring to a prescription medicine that can be used to reverse an overdose. HIPAA generally prohibits the disclosure of health information to a patient’s family or friends without the consent of the patient, meaning that an individual’s parents or family might not be aware of situations where an individual has overdosed. A proposal to ease HIPAA restrictions is expected to be included in the commission’s interim report, which is scheduled to be released within the next few weeks.
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