URGENT: PLEASE COMMENT ON PROPOSED HIPAA CHANGES TODAY!

URGENT: PLEASE COMMENT ON PROPOSED HIPAA CHANGES!

NYAPRS E-News  February 11, 2019

There’s only a day left to reply to the request by the US Department of Health and Human Services to give input around proposed weakening of HIPAA privacy protections.  Your voice is needed here! 

Take a look at the request and where to submit your comments at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HHS-OCR-2018-0028-0001

Here are some sample talking points:

  • I submit these comments to express my support for the privacy protections contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), together with the implementing regulations found at 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164 (HIPAA Rules). I urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Civil Rights (OCR), to maintain the existing rules, and not to weaken their important privacy protections. ·        

  • The right to medical privacy is a cornerstone of effective health care treatment. The right to medical privacy is essential to an individual’s trust in and relationship with their health care providers, and their commitment to treatment. Changing the HIPAA Rules to weaken individual medical privacy rights would deter and undermine treatment, contrary to the purposes cited in the RFI. ·      

  •    HHS lacks the authority to promulgate changes to HIPAA that would effectively provide lower privacy protections for individuals with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders because in enacting HIPAA, Congress did not authorize differential privacy protections based on diagnosis.  ·        

  • The HIPAA Rules already contain the flexibility to permit communications between healthcare providers and with family members. But misunderstanding or misinterpretations of HIPAA have led to calls for its reform. Agency efforts would be better spent in providing more information and education as to the flexibility and constraints of the Rules, rather than to undertake revisions. ·       

  •   Congress actually rejected legislative efforts to lower privacy protections for individuals with serious mental illness.  Early versions of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which passed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, would have reduced privacy protections for individuals with serious mental illness by broadening the circumstances under which disclosure of protected health information was permitted to responsible caregivers for such individuals. 

THANKS FOR STANDING UP FOR THE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY RIGHTS OF AMERICANS WITH MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS!