What you need to know about HIPAA, from the law’s author

Washington — For the American people and members of the press hoping to glean a comprehensive run-down of President Trump’s condition following his diagnosis with COVID-19, a five-letter acronym has been invoked by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley as a barrier to offering the full view that many crave.

HIPAA, shorthand for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, has been mentioned repeatedly by Conley as he fields questions from the press about the president’s health status, namely in response to questions about what scans of Mr. Trump’s lungs revealed and when he last tested negative for the coronavirus.

“There are HIPAA rules and regulations that restrict me in sharing certain things for his safety and his own health and reasons,” Conley told reporters at Walter Reed on Monday when pressed about findings from the president’s lung imaging.

Asked about when Mr. Trump last tested negative and whether any

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