Washington Times Examines Implementation of HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule
The Washington Times today looks at the changes in the health care industry as a result of the new federal patient privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that took effect April 14. To comply with the regulations, the health care industry has spent $1.76 billion to standardize and improve electronic transfers between insurance companies and care providers. Hospitals have allowed patients to choose to not be listed in the hospital directory and block access to patients and information about their status. At pharmacies, people picking up another person's prescriptions are encouraged to sign "good faith" forms verifying they have the patient's permission to do so. Insurance companies require written authorization from relatives to access their information. Pharmacies and health plans also are required to receive authorization before disclosing patients' information to marketers (Higgins, Washington Times, 5/6). NPR's "Morning Edition" today reports on the feelings of "alarm and confusion" that some providers and patients have experienced since the HIPAA medical privacy regulations took effect. The segment includes comments from Stephen Fleischer, a California attorney and health care consultant; Melinda Hatton, American Hospital Association vice president and chief Washington counsel; and HIPAA Innovations CEO Dr. Jeffrey Hausfeld (Rovner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 5/6). The full segment is available in RealPlayer at online.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.