Page 47 - Athletic Health Handbook
P. 47
student health clinic is enough for for participation as a varsity athlete. the authorization needs to address
them to be treated according to a Accordingly, refusal to sign or with- what information may be released, to
different set of laws and regulations. drawal of the authorization could be whom, and for what length of time.
These team physicians may have their used as a reason for exclusion from
primary practice within an academic participation. Although no specific Of course, it is a safe rule of
medical center or a private office. All guidance has been issued from the thumb to always get a signed release
health information on student athletes U.S. Department of Health and for information to the media and
obtained during evaluation in their Human Services (DHHS) on this to other individuals such as other
clinic or office is likely governed by point, arguably, authorization may coaches or professional athletic
HIPAA regulations. Believe it or not, not be needed on a per injury basis, organizations or associations.
although the HIPAA privacy regula- but could possibly be obtained at
tions require a substantial amount of the beginning of the season. Again, In spite of the fact that HIPAA
policies and procedures as discussed regulations govern most of the health
above, the regulations also give a information for these team physicians,
decent amount of flexibility when it
comes to sharing information about
patients for treatment purposes.

Let’s examine again the regular
loop of information — physician to
trainer to coach. Under the HIPAA
privacy regulations, in order for the
physician to release medical informa-
tion about student athletes to trainers
or coaches, an authorization would
possibly need to be signed by the
student athlete. This authorization
must specifically address, among
several other requirements, what
information is to be shared and to
whom it is to be shared. In contrast,
for the physician to share this infor-
mation to a provider for treatment
no authorization would be required.
A major question to consider is
whether the athletic trainer could
be considered a provider under the
HIPAA regulations. If so, and the
release to the trainer is for treatment
purposes, an authorization from the
student athlete may not be necessary
for physician-trainer communications.
Unfortunately, the same argument
probably does not apply to direct
releases to coaches or other school
officials; therefore, an authorization
would most likely be required for
disclosing medical information from
the covered team physician directly
to the coach.

A signed authorization could be
made a requirement by the school

HIPAA AND THE TEAM PHYSICIAN 47
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