[ Monday, August 12, 2002 ]


The Proposed Chages to the Privacy Rule become final. The proposed changes to the Privacy Rule have been finalized. Well, sort of. They will be when the revisions are published on Wednesday in the Federal Register. I haven't had time to review them yet, but I think they look pretty much like they did back in April when they were first proposed. The requirement for a consent has been removed, but providers must give patients a copy of their Notice of Privacy Practices ("NOPP") as soon as possible and try to get the patients to sign an acknowledgement.

Is this as bad as the Georgetown Privacy Nazis think it is? Not really. Under the original final rule, a provider could refuse to treat a patient if the patient refused to sign a consent. So, the consent itself was a contract of adhesion; the doctor could put whatever he wanted in the consent and the patient was stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Now, the doctor must provide the NOPP which says what he is going to do with the information; if the patient doesn't like what he sees, he can go elsewhere. What's the difference?

The big question: will Kennedy demagogue this? He threatened to do so during the Senate hearings on these proposed revisions.

Jeff [10:14 AM]

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