Are stronger patient privacy rules on the horizon?

For those who have been advocating for stronger patient privacy rules, the wait is over.  The HHS will now have to make stronger standards and rewrite those privacy rules.  Temporary rules were issued in August; however, the HHS will issue its final regulations sometime in the fall of this year.

The temporary rules submitted this August did not satisfy certain consumer and patient advocacy groups because they said the rules did not do enough to protect patients’ rights.  The temporary rules stated that healthcare providers and insurers needed to notify patients of privacy breaches if the violation “posed a significant risk of financial, reputational or other harm to the individual.”

Of course, hospitals and insurers will be reluctant to inform patients of privacy breaches due to the possible backlash in the press and the publicity nightmare.  Both sides of this issue have valid points, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to see the final regulations laid out.  For more on this issue, read this article in the New York Times, Tighter Medical Privacy Rules Sought

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