Are covered entities protected when they make disclosures to QIOs?

Are HIPAA covered entities protected from complaints when they make disclosures to Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs)? According to CMS, the Social Security Act provides certain protections to those who disclose information to the QIOs, as described in §1157 of the Act. Under §1157, no person providing information to a QIO will be held, by reason of having provided such information, to have violated any criminal law or to be civilly liable under any State or Federal law, unless the information provided is unrelated to the performance of the contract of the QIO or the information is false and the individual knew or had reason to believe that the information was false.

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