Joint Guidance on the Application of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Health Records (US DHHS & US DOE) [December 2019]

Excerpt from Document: The purpose of this guidance is to explain the relationship between the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) statute and implementing regulations and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. This document updates and expands on prior guidance to help address potential confusion on the part of school administrators, health care professionals, and others on how FERPA and HIPAA apply to records maintained on students. It also addresses certain disclosures that are allowed without the written consent of the parent or eligible student under FERPA or without authorization under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, especially those related to emergency health or safety situations. While this guidance seeks to answer many questions that school officials, parents, and others may have about the intersection of these Federal laws, ongoing discussions may raise additional questions. Contact information for submitting additional questions or suggestions for purposes of informing future guidance is provided at the end of this document. The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are committed to a continuing dialogue on these important matters affecting the safety and security of our nation’s schools, students, and communities.

Note: This guidance does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. Instead, it is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Download the Joint Guidance on the Application of FERPA and HIPAA to Student Health Records