HIPAA

Public Comments: June 2006 – Medicaid Program and State Children’s Health Insurance Program Systems Notice

The World Privacy Forum submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requesting that it amend a Systems of Records Notice to address an oversight and address other privacy issues. The Forum requested that CMS add a reference in the system notice to Executive Order 13181 of December 20, 2000, “To Protect the Privacy of Protected Health Information in Oversight Investigations.” The Forum also requested that the routine uses be revised to reflect the HIPAA requirements as appropriate when the disclosures involve HIPAA records.

Public Comments: November 2005 – WPF Files Comments About Proposed Changes to HIPAA

Five groups joined the World Privacy Forum in asking for changes to be made to a proposed rule on how medical healthcare claims attachments are handled electronically. The World Privacy Forum and the EFF, EPIC, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Activism and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) asked that physicians be given more control over what parts of health records they send electronically to insurance companies, that psychotherapy notes not be included when sending health records for insurance payment, and that the HIPAA Privacy Rule be rigorously applied to scanned health records.

Public Comments: November 2005 – HHS about Regulatory Reform/ HIPAA

The World Privacy Forum filed comments with Health and Human Services asking the agency to protect patient choice and privacy. The World Privacy Forum asked that patients continue to be able to receive accounting of disclosures under HIPAA, and asked that this important patient right under HIPAA not be removed or weakened. The World Privacy Forum also asked HHS to review how patients’ records can be amended under HIPAA, and recommended that in light of the coming National Health Information Network, that changes to enhance patient choice may be needed in this area.

World Privacy Forum Testifies on Electronic Health Records and Privacy

Medical privacy — The World Privacy Forum testified before the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics in August regarding the importance of patient choice in the area of Electronic Health Records. The testimony stressed the importance of building security, patient privacy, and choice into EHRs and any form of the proposed National Health Information Network (NHIN).

Testimony of Pam Dixon, before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) Subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality

The World Privacy Forum has been particularly interested in developments related to EHRs and the NHIN. Given the impetus of the 2004 Executive Order [1] mandating forward movement in these areas, and the broad impact digitized medical records will potentially have on patients and on the healthcare sector, the World Privacy Forum believes that the decisions this Committee and others shaping these efforts arrive at will be of lasting importance. Given the transition of many parts of our society from analog to digital, it is crucial to ask what this digitization will look like and to carefully examine and discuss what form EHRs and related systems should take in regards to patient choice, privacy, and security.