[Politech] Katharina Kopp defends HIPAA federal health privacy laws

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Wed Oct 08 2003 - 06:25:32 PDT

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    Subject: RE: [Politech] Another unintended consequence of health "privacy" 
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    Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2003 14:27:09 -0400
    Message-ID: <5FCF899547931845B276514EF3F4E2227D9381@private>
    From: "Katharina Kopp" <kkopp@private>
    To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@private>
      Re: Medical Privacy, posting by J.D. Abolins
    Both J.D. Abolins and the author of the posted news article incorrectly 
    state what the HIPAA privacy rule requires.  Unfortunately they add to the 
    confusion and misunderstanding about certain provisions of the 
    law.  Despite the law's clear purpose and scope, a lack of widespread and 
    consistent public education, training, and technical assistance over the 
    past 2 and one half years, has given rise to a number of persistent and 
    destructive myths. It might be useful to the readers of your listserve to 
    have a look at the Health Privacy Project's 'Myths and Facts about the 
    HIPAA Privacy Rule,' available on our website: 
    Myth 3 and 4 address the confusion and misinterpretation that the quoted 
    article on access by clergy to patients' addresses.  The Privacy Rule 
    permits hospitals to continue the practice of providing directory 
    information to the public -- including clergy -- unless the patient has 
    specifically chosen to opt out. The Regulation specifically provides that 
    hospitals may continue the practice of disclosing directory information "to 
    members of the clergy," unless the patient has objected to such disclosure. 
    Any requirement that the patient must list a specific church or any 
    limitation on the practice of directly notifying clergy of admitted 
    patients is either an internal hospital policy or based on a confused 
    reading of the law.
    Katharina Kopp
    Katharina Kopp, Ph.D.
    Program Manager
    Health Privacy Project
    1120 19th Street, NW, 8th Floor
    Washington, DC 20036
    phone (202) 721-5614
    fax (202) 530-0128
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