Subject: Office for Civil Rights Announces the Expiration of COVID-19 HIPAA Enforcement Discretion and Transition Period for Telehealth

HHS Office for Civil Rights Announces the Expiration of COVID-19 HIPAA Enforcement Discretion and Transition Period for Telehealth

In 2020 the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began exercising enforcement discretion regarding compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the good faith provision of telehealth (including mental health and substance use disorder services) by providers required to follow HIPAA during the COVID–19 public health emergency. On April 11, 2023, OCR announced that its enforcement discretion will expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 11, 2023.  This coincides with the announced end date of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

What you need to know:

  • Providers required to follow HIPAA will have a 90-day transition period (ending August 9, 2023) to come into full compliance with HIPAA regarding the provision of telehealth, including the use of non-public facing applications that allow for video chat (e.g., Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, Zoom, or Skype).

  • Providers required to follow HIPAA may use the transition period to adjust their telehealth practices to come into compliance with the HIPAA, such as by choosing a telehealth vendor that will enter into a business associate agreement and comply with applicable requirements of the HIPAA Rules.

Additional Information:

  • Enforcement discretion will also expire for violations of HIPAA for the following related notices: certain uses and disclosures for public health and health oversight activities; good-faith participation in COVID-19 specimen collection and testing sites (“community-based testing sites”); and good-faith use of online or web-based scheduling applications for COVID-19 vaccination appointments

For More Information

OCR's guidance and frequently asked questions about HIPAA-compliant telehealth practices.

Official notice in the Federal Register: Notice of Expiration of Certain Notifications of Enforcement Discretion Issued in Response to the COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency.


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This resource was supported by SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award with 100% funded by SAMHSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by SAMHSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.


Funded by SAMHSA, the CoE-PHI develops and disseminates resources, training, and TA for states, healthcare providers, school administrators and individuals and families to improve understanding and application of federal privacy laws and regulations, including FERPA, HIPAA, and 42 CFR Part 2, when providing and receiving treatment for substance use and mental health.


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