Why Patients Won't Understand Their HIPAA Privacy Notices (Hochhauser)

I downloaded and analyzed six HIPAA privacy notice examples and 31 HIPAA privacy notices. Using several readability tools, I found that they were written at 2nd-4th year college reading levels -- instead of in plain language as required by federal HIPAA regulations

How Medical Faxes Have Been Sent to My Home by Mistake

December 31, 1969
December 31,1969

For the past 4 years I have been receiving faxes at my home that were most likely meant for a medical clinic since my number is 1 digit off from their phone fax number. I spoke with HIPAA [Office of Civil Rights, the complaint office for medical complaints under HIPAA] awhile ago, and they instructed me to just throw away any patient information in the trash and that I was not liable for that information in any way. Today I was sent another fax from a medical supply place and had to tell them to stop trying to send me a fax at 5:00 in the morning. Apparently, I was in their phone number data base and the information in the fax was set on auto redial. You can only imagine what a pain that is. If you take your phone off the hook the phone company has made it so it keeps buzzing to tell you to put your phone BACK on the hook.

Comments to Health and Human Services: Privacy and Security Rule Modification

The Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 calls for certain changes to previously issued HHS rules regarding privacy of individuals’ medical records (the Privacy Rule), security of electronic health records (Security Rule), and enforcement of the security and privacy provisions (Enforcement Rule). The current rule proposal encompasses the HITECH modifications for all three HIPAA rules.

Disclosure Accounting: Comments Submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights

 In adopting the final HIPAA Privacy Rule (Privacy Rule) in 2003, OCR included a section outlining a patient’s right to receive an accounting of protected health information (PHI) disclosures. As adopted, however, the Privacy Rule includes many exceptions to the kinds of data that must be included in an accounting, one of which is that an accounting need not tell patients about disclosures made for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.

Comments to Department of Health and Human Services re Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS or Department) interim final rules regarding breach notification to individuals in the event of unauthorized use and access of protected health information. The rules, issued in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), are mandated by Section 13402 of the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health (HITECH) A

Ten Privacy Principals for Health Care

Health-related information that we share with doctors and others is among the most intimate and sensitive of all personal information. In addition to information about physical health, these records may include information about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and private thoughts and feelings related to mental health.

Yet, as privacy advocate Evan Hendricks put it, video rental records in this country are afforded more privacy protection under law than are medical records.

PRC Comments on Proposed HHS - Medical Records Privacy Rule

Even though the proposed rule lays the foundation for the implementation of fair information principles, it takes several steps backward and gravely endangers patient privacy in a number of areas, explained below. Because of the significant shortcomings of the proposed rule, in addition to the relatively limited opportunity for individuals to have been apprised of and comment on the rule, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recommends that the proposed rule be withdrawn and redrafted.

Groups Oppose Data Mining of Health Information by Financial Institutions

Today, the Health Privacy Project (HPP), the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and 28 other groups, including the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, opposing any changes to the new medical privacy regulation that would give a green light to banks and other financial institutions to access sensitive, personal medical information. The organizations include health care advocacy, labor, consumer, disability rights, and health care provider groups.

What Is HealthVault? Things to Think About Before You Participate

HealthVault is Microsoft's new service for storing, managing, and accessing a patient's medical information. www.healthvault.com  It operates as an online encrypted service.  The service offers a voluntary opportunity for medical records to be collected by aggregating information from various sources including health-care providers, insurance companies, and compatible medical devices (such as blood pressure monitoring devices).

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