Health privacy and HIPAA — 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.”
Data Breach | HHS HITECH Breach Notification — The World Privacy Forum filed comments on the HHS data breach rulemaking and asked for substantive changes in several areas. In particular, WPF asked HHS to expressly state a requirement for a breach risk assessment in the final rule itself, and to set a requirement that the risk assessment must be conducted by an independent organization. The WPF also asked that HHS set breach risk assessment standards so that there is some uniformity and guidance as to what constitutes an appropriately rigorous risk assessment when a breach occurs. In the comments, WPF also discussed the relationship between medical identity theft and medical data breach and how this impacts patients and consumers.
New Health Privacy Resource — The Patient’s Guide to HIPAA is the first comprehensive guide to medical privacy written expressly for patients with a practical eye as to how to use the law to protect privacy. It is a major privacy resource for patients, written directly and without legalese. The Patient’s Guide to HIPAA is
“This guide is not just a retread of what HIPAA is and does,” said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum. “Our guide gives patients practical details and strategies on how they can use the law to protect their privacy and navigate the medical system. Best of all, it is easy to use.”
Resource — A substantial new resource for individuals seeking to research California laws and regulations regarding health information has come online. The CHILI database is a project of the California Office of Health Information Integrity, and has interfaced with the California Privacy and Security Advisory Board, which the World Privacy Forum co-chairs. The CHILI database can be searched by HIPAA section, California Code section, California health information law keywords, or by statutory scheme.