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The Poison Control Center at The University of Kansas Health System is the certified regional poison center designated to serve the state of Kansas. Since the Poison Center Enhancement and Awareness Act became public law (P.L. 106-174) the entire population of the United States has been served by designated regional poison centers. Poison Centers serve as comprehensive toxicology resources for the public and for healthcare providers within their region. Poison Centers are staffed by licensed health care providers who function as medical consultants in
managing patients with a poisoning or toxic exposure.

The Kansas Poison Center occasionally meets resistance in obtaining information from providers who cite the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The Poison Center at The University of Kansas Health System is a healthcare provider performing a treatment activity to an individual. A covered entity (a healthcare provider, a health plan or
a clearinghouse) may disclose protected health information to the Kansas Poison Center for treatment activities.

The status and classification of poison centers under HIPAA is clarified in the comments section of 45 CFR 164.501 under the heading of Treatment on pp. 82625-82626 of the December 28, 1999, Federal Register. It is stated:

“We note that poison control centers are health care providers for purposes of this rule. We consider the counseling and follow-up consultation provided by poison control centers with individual providers regarding patient outcomes to be treatment. Therefore, poison control centers and other health care providers can share protected health information about the treatment of an individual without a business associate contract.”

This statement provides clarity that the Kansas Poison Center is a healthcare provider delivering treatment. As a treatment provider, HIPAA regulations specifically allow certain uses and disclosures of protected health information:

“A covered entity may disclose protected health information for treatment activities of a healthcare provider.”
(45CFR 164.506(c)(2))

The Kansas Poison Center at The University of Kansas Health System keeps all patient information from these cases confidential and manages them in compliance with HIPAAregulations.

We hope this information provides guidance and clarification for your concerns. If you have further questions, please call us at 1-800-222-1222.

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