For the public:

The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information gathers information necessary to provide appropriate recommendations and keeps this information confidential and protected under the same rules and regulations that govern your doctors and pharmacy. We do not report any well-meaning callers to any other agency. In the rare instances where serious neglect or abuse is known or suspected, the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information will alert the appropriate agency.

For Healthcare Providers:

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains a Privacy Rule that regulates how certain entities may use and disclose certain individually identifiable health information, called protected health information. The Privacy Rule permits a covered entity to disclose protected health information (PHI) for its own treatment purposes and for the treatment activities of another health care provider. (45 CFR§164.506(c)). Under the Privacy Rule, treatment is defined broadly to include, "the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers, including the coordination or management of health care by a health care provider with a third party; consultation between health care providers relating to a patient; or the referral of a patient for health care from one health care provider to another." (45 CFR§164.501). The Preamble to the Privacy Rule specifically notes that "poison control centers are health care providers for purposes of th[e] rule" and that "counseling and follow-up consultations provided by poison control centers with individual providers regarding patient outcomes are considered to be treatment." (65 Fed. Reg. 82626 (Dec. 28, 2000)). Thus, the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits covered entities to disclose protected health information to poison control centers for treatment activities including follow-up consultations. For a certified letter from an Associate Administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services Healthcare Systems Bureau regarding the HIPAA Privacy Rule and how it pertains to the activities of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, please contact us at (405) 271-5454.