Pharmacy Chain Enters into Business Associate Agreement with Law Firm

Covered Entity: Pharmacy Chain

Issue: Impermissible Uses and Disclosures; Business Associates

A complaint alleged that a law firm working on behalf of a pharmacy chain in an administrative proceeding impermissibly disclosed the PHI of a customer of the pharmacy chain. OCR investigated the allegation and found no evidence that the law firm had impermissibly disclosed the customer’s PHI. However, the investigation revealed that the pharmacy chain and the law firm had not entered into a Business Associate Agreement, as required by the Privacy Rule to ensure that PHI is appropriately safeguarded. Without a properly executed agreement, a covered entity may not disclose PHI to its law firm. To resolve the matter, OCR required the pharmacy chain and the law firm to enter into a business associate agreement.

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