On April 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health released guidance authorizing pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests.  Immediately following this guidance, on April 9, 2020, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will refrain from imposing penalties for violations of HIPAA for covered entities or business associates participating, in good faith, in the operation of COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) during the nationwide public health emergency.  The guidance regarding pharmacists testing for COVID-19 and the notice related to the relaxation of HIPAA rules comes on the heels of pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, taking on a more active and critical role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading OCR to Waive Penalties for Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Sites

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health released guidance authorizing pharmacists to “order and administer COVID-19 tests, including serology tests, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized.”  HHS noted that it recognized that most Americans are relatively close to a retail pharmacy and they interact with pharmacists more frequently than other healthcare professionals. Allowing pharmacists to administer the tests should reduce travel to testing locations – an important mitigation step.  HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement:
Continue Reading HHS Expands COVID-19 Testing Capabilities by Allowing Pharmacists to Test