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Cancer Registry Laws

The U.S. Congress established the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) at the Centers for Disease Control in 1992 by enacting the Cancer Registries Amendment Act, Public Law 102-515 (PDF-62KB).

The SC General Assembly passed the Central Cancer Registry Act SC Law 44-35 (PDF-71KB) on June 6, 1996. The Central Cancer Registry Act supports the assurances of Public Law 102-515 and states that all health care providers must report cancer cases to the SCCCR. The Act also ensures that patient confidentiality, as well as physician confidentiality, is protected. Reporting sources who submit data to the SCCCR are also protected from liability incurred through compliance with the state law. 

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

In 1996 the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring uniform federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information. This law is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued final regulations implementing the privacy provisions of HIPAA. These regulations are called the "Privacy Rule". Copies of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, as well as helpful explanatory materials, may be found at the HHS Office of Civil Rights web site: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/

HIPAA guidelines went into effect April 14, 2003. The SCCCR, in the Office of Public Health Statistics and Information Services (PHSIS), is considered a non-covered entity (PDF-114KB) according to HIPAA guidelines. Therefore, HIPAA regulations only minimally impact current state cancer reporting procedures. HIPAA allows for the reporting of identifiable cancer data to public health entities. Because the SCCCR falls under the definition of a public health entity, HIPAA allows facilities and physician practices to continue to report data to the SCCCR in compliance with state law. Written informed consent from each cancer patient reported to public health entities is not required under HIPAA; rather facilities and physician practices must simply document that reporting has occurred.

The following documents provide further information concerning HIPAA guidelines in relation to cancer reporting.

Letter from the SCCCR to Reporting Facilities re: HIPAA (PDF-16KB)

Letter from the SCCCR to Physicians re: HIPAA (PDF-68KB)

Academic Letter Interpreting HIPAA from the NAACCR Legal Counsel (PDF-276KB)

FAQs About HIPAA and the Cancer Registry (PDF-185KB)

More FAQs About HIPAA and the Cancer Registry (PDF-151KB)

FAQs About HIPAA for Hospital-Based Cancer Registries (PDF-44KB)

If you have any questions or comments about the information on this page please contact: Susan Bolick

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