In our view, the Department’s proposed changes to HIPAA regarding marketing are contrary to the law. Current law requires that paid communications for any marketing should be allowed only on an opt-in basis. We oppose the Department’s proposed regulation that would allow communications paid for by third parties who are not the entities whose product or service is being described in the communication.
Health privacy and HIPAA — The World Privacy Forum filed two sets of detailed regulatory comments on recently proposed changes to HIPAA. The first comments focused on proposed changes to HIPAA in the area of marketing patient information. The proposed changes would be harmful to patient privacy, and are contrary to the law. WPF was joined in the marketing comments by the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy Activism, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and Privacy Times. The second set of comments WPF filed included the comments on marketing as well as on additional provisions that would be problematic if enacted.
Data brokers — WPF will be speaking at the CFP conference on two panels. On June 15, Pam Dixon will participate in a plenary session on data brokers. On June 16, Dixon will moderate a health care privacy panel. This panel will focus on electronic health care in the state of California and the current privacy issues in electronic health exchange.
California health privacy — The World Privacy Forum, as co-chair of the California Privacy and Security Advisory Board, was pleased to vote on an opt-in privacy standard for Californians in the June CalPSAB board meeting. The standard will be part of a set of guidelines the state of California uses in its development of electronic health care records. This set of guidelines was the culmination of two years of policy work with the CalPSAB board.
The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the US Department of Health and Human Services today in response to its Request for Information about possible changes to the HIPAA health privacy rule. WPF strongly supported patients’ current right to request a history of disclosures of their medical files, and requested an expansion of this right. WPF noted in its comments to HHS that “An individual cannot fully protect his/her privacy interest in a health record (and most other records) unless he/she has a right of access to the record, the right to propose a correction, and the right to see who has used the record and to whom it has been disclosed. Each of these elements is essential.”