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HIPAA Q&A: Filming commercials at hospitals

question [1]Submit your HIPAA questions to Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at jfitzgerald@hcpro.com [2] and we will work with our experts to provide the information you need.

Q: What must an organization consider in terms of HIPAA if it were to film a commercial on-site? Does the hospital need to sign a confidentiality agreement or business associate agreement (BAA) with the film crew? Should the privacy, security, or compliance officers be notified? Would the crew be permitted to film in the ED without consent from those present if the curtains were drawn and doors were closed?

A: You should have the film crew sign confidentiality agreements since they may see or overhear patient information while they are on-site. If the commercial is being produced for the healthcare organization, the company creating the commercial would be considered a business associate (BA) and should sign a BAA.

Discuss the situation with your HIPAA privacy, security, and compliance officers in advance to ensure the filming complies with your organization’s policies.

Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of health information for Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple, Texas, answered this question for HCPro’s Briefings on HIPAA [3]. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions.