HIPAA Could Limit Information Athletic Teams Release about Players
Professional, collegiate and high school athletic teams may have to limit their release of medical information about players to comply with new medical privacy rules taking effect in 2003, the Houston Chronicle reports. Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act -- considered the "first comprehensive federal protections for health privacy" -- was intended to protect consumers by barring health insurers from obtaining clients' medical histories and denying coverage due to a preexisting condition, it is having a "rippling effect on [the sports] sector." University of Texas Assistant Athletic Director Bill Little said, "Our interpretation [of HIPAA] is we cannot share any information on a student athlete without his or her permission." He added, "Even if it's during a game, at halftime or whenever, and even if it's a minor injury, a player has to give his permission" to release private medical information. Georgetown University's Health Privacy Project Director Janlori Goldman said that she did not remember any discussion on how the law would effect athletic teams, according to the Chronicle. She said, however, that the law should "give players control over whether they want medical information shared with the press. They'll have the freedom to decide whether they want the team doctor or anyone else to give out medical information" (Solomon, Houston Chronicle, 9/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.