Health Privacy Project Releases Updated Summaries of State Privacy Statutes
Georgetown University Medical Center's Health Privacy Project yesterday released new summaries of the health privacy statutes in six states, as the first step in updating its 1999 report, "The State of Health Privacy: An Uneven Terrain." The updated summaries reflect changes made to state statutes. The project also restructured the summaries to resemble the format of the federal HIPAA privacy rule so that health care organizations and consumers can compare the two. The project cautions, however, that it has not analyzed how the state laws will interact with HIPAA. Since HIPAA does not preempt state health privacy laws that are considered more stringent, privacy protections will be determined by both federal (HIPAA) and state law. Moreover, the project did not research regulations or common law, which also must be taken into account in order to understand the "full range of protections at the state level." In this initial release, the project updated the summaries for Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Kentucky and Vermont. The organization will release additional updates across the next few months, covering eight to 12 states at a time (Health Privacy Project release, 3/6). The summaries are available online.