OCR Guidance for HIPAA and Same-sex Marriage after United States v. Windsor

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS-OCR) has developed guidance to assist HIPAA covered entities in understanding the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor on HIPAA privacy obligations. The HIPAA Privacy Rule contains several provisions that reference the role that family members, including spouses, play in patient care. In Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, which provided that… Read More >

Stark Law Recognizes Same Sex Marriages for Purposes of Immediate Family Member Definition

CMS recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions related to the prohibition on physician self-referral to be consistent with Department policy to treat same-sex marriages “on the same terms as opposite sex marriages to the greatest extent reasonably possible.” In reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v Windsor, where the Court found part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, CMS clarified that the definition of an “immediate family member” of a physician does include the lawfully married same-sex… Read More >