In the wake of continuing worldwide efforts to combat and eradicate Ebola, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a bulletin covering the HIPAA Privacy Rule in emergency situations.

The bulletin, which can be found here, reiterates that the Rule’s protections still exist during an emergency. However, it also recognizes that appropriate uses and disclosures of an individual’s public health information may be made when necessary to treat a patient, to protect the nation’s public health “and for other critical purposes.” Among other things, the bulletin addresses sharing and safeguarding patient information in emergency circumstances and discusses the entities to whom the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies.