[ Thursday, July 07, 2022 ]


How about No?  A group of Democrat Senators have asked HHS to immediately begin the process of amending HIPAA to protect abortion information in the wake of the Dobbs decision. Specifically, they want to prevent providers from sharing information relating to abortion with law enforcement.

How about no?  HIPAA as drafted works perfectly well to balance the need for patient privacy and confidentiality with the need for proper access for appropriate law enforcement purposes.  And there is no reason at all to select out certain types of medical care as getting "special" treatment, at least not within HIPAA.  HIPAA is a broad set of policies and rules that works effectively across multiple platforms, service types, business entities, industries, situations, and circumstances.  It specifically incorporates reasonability and scalability into its standards, and puts appropriate decision-making where it belongs: with the patient in some cases, or within the professional judgment of a provider in others.  It's pretty amazing that the exact same set of regulations can effectively govern a huge multi-hospital health system or a trillion-dollar insurance company as well as a single-doctor, single-location medical practice.  There is just no reason to think that HIPAA needs to be changed because the governance of a single type of medical procedure has been returned to the states.

Different states treat medical marijuana differently, but there's no specific HIPAA provision specifically protecting medical marijuana information.  Some states outlaw or restrict certain therapy services (such as transgender services or conversion therapy), but there's no specific HIPAA provision protecting health information relating to those services.  

That's because there needn't be.  

Jeff [1:43 PM]

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