PRIVACYnotes

HIPAA Compliance and Health Privacy
 

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HIPAA

HIPAA Compliance and Health Privacy

Justice Department demands release of abortion records

After a group of doctors challenged the constitutionality of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, the Justice Department demanded through a set of subpoenas that hospitals in several states release the medical records of many patients who had so-called partial birth abortions, the New York Times reported today. The Justice Department is arguing that their request does not violate federal law because "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential." However, the new federal privacy law (HIPAA) creates such an enforceable expectation of privacy by limiting certain uses and disclosures of people's health information.
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Privacy law wounds fund-raising efforts at medical foundations. Last year, the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation raised a record $20 million for the San Francisco hospital and its programs. Now, thanks to a new federal law protecting patients' privacy, tapping donors who receive treatment at CPMC will become more difficult. Some rules contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 took effect last April. They limit how health-care providers can use and release medical information. Hospital-linked foundations fund-raisers no longer have access to patients' medical information.

Personal data may not be adequately protected from collection, use and disclosure, according to a stinging report released today by the General Accounting Office. In a survey of 25 federal agencies, and through a GAO forum for federal privacy officers, the GAO found a significant lack of compliance with the federal Privacy Act of 1974

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The interim final rule is HHS’ first installment of a bigger rule that the Department intends to promulgate in the future for the enforcement of HIPAA, called the "Enforcement Rule." The Enforcement Rule will set procedural and substantive requirements for the imposition of civil monetary penalties.

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What You Need to Know About HIPAA Compliance!
By Jim Cavagnaro

HIPAA - the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - is a federal law developed, in part, to define and regulate the use of healthcare information in the United States. Entities that provide, pay for or supply health services, medications or equipment, as well as their business partners and vendors, are affected by this new set of regulations. This article summarizes the work that needs to be done to meet requirements necessary to become HIPAA compliant.

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Health Privacy Project (HPP) announces the launch of its HIPAA privacy complaint monitoring initiative. With this initiative HPP will monitor the oversight and enforcement of the HIPAA privacy rule by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to ensure that patients' privacy rights are enforced effectively. HPP has posted a model complaint form on its website and is asking the public to provide HPP with copies of complaints submitted to OCR. OCR has yet to post an online complaint form, even though most health care providers and health plans are required to comply with the new privacy law by April 14, 2003.

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HIPAA Uproar over journalism and reporting of accidents and press concerns over access to victim identities at hospitals

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