Does HIPAA privacy protection apply to an individual who has no relation to the healthcare field?

For example, my neighbor drops his prescription pill bottle on the sidewalk outside his house. I pick it up and return it. Would me telling someone else about his prescription be a HIPAA violation or just a jerk move?


1 Answer 1


It would merely be a "jerk move".

HIPAA only applies to "covered entities":

  1. Healthcare Providers
  2. Health Plans
  3. Healthcare Clearing Houses (i.e. Paying for your health care)
  4. Business Associates of the Above)

Source: CDC page on HIPAA

  • 3
    Now, let's say you're a doctor in the same situation. Do you have to have a doctor-patient relationship for HIPAA to apply? Or would you be held to a higher standard as a healthcare provider anyway? Jan 8 at 22:18
  • @AzorAhai-him- A doctor, nurse, pharmacist or medical technician would all fall under "healthcare provider".
    – sharur
    Jan 10 at 10:49
  • That isn't the question I asked. Jan 10 at 16:41
  • Obviously, of course, it applies to individuals affiliated with "covered entities" and acting in that capacity.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 10 at 18:47

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