Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Read Now: Expert Opinions on HIV Cure Research
  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

National News

Medical Privacy Changes Proposed; U.S. President Bush's Plan Would Lessen Patients' Say on Records

March 26, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The Bush administration last week proposed changing some federal rules designed to protect the confidentiality of Americans' medical records, including the ability of patients to decide in advance who should be able to use their personal health information.

The proposal would alter the requirement, put in place by the Clinton administration, that patients give their written permission before their medical records may be disclosed to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and insurance companies. In the new requirements, those who use their records must at some point notify patients of their privacy rights.

In disclosing the modifications, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the proposed changes "will allow us to deliver strong protections for personal medical information while improving access to care."

Last April, Bush announced that he would move ahead with the medical confidentiality regulation adopted by President Clinton, but opponents lobbied hard to change them. HHS civil rights officials said that the "very targeted changes" were intended to protect patients' privacy while simultaneously eliminating facets of the original rules that they said would interfere with patients' access to care. That reasoning essentially embraces the arguments raised by the insurance industry, which has hailed the new changes.

Advertisement
The administration plans to offer a relatively quick, one-month period for outside comment on the proposal before HHS administrators begin to refine it and issue a final version. The changes do not require Congressional approval.

Janlori Goldman, director of Georgetown University's Health Privacy Project, said the elimination of advance permission "cuts the legs off the privacy regulation." Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that giving permission before personal medical information is disclosed "is central to protecting people's medical privacy." And Donald Palmisano, the American Medical Association's secretary-treasurer, said, "there is more opportunity for patient privacy to be violated now."

In one contentious change, the administration would make it easier for parents to see their children's medical records in any state that does not have a law that specifically guarantees minors their medical privacy rights. Privacy advocates are worried that the new rules will deter teenagers from seeking sensitive health services such as abortions or treatment for mental illness or STDs.


Back to other CDC news for March 26, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Washington Post
03.22.02; Amy Goldstein

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
More on U.S. HIV Treatment Policy

Tools
 

Advertisement