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How HIPAA is burning people

I know there are reasons why we have Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but they seem to be doing more problems than good. One problem is that the law, used to protect a patient's medical information, has been keeping law enforcement from doing their jobs. From this story:

Police have been unable to cold-call hospitals, asking if a Leslie Rivera-Hager or Sheila Smith is a patient there, because of the new law protecting patient confidentiality. This can make a missing-persons search more difficult.

Before the law was passed, (New Sewickley police Chief John) Daley said: "We'd go through the phone book and call every hospital, asking if they had a patient by that name. Right now, we can't do that."

Police could get a search warrant if they had reason to believe that the person was in a certain hospital. But the uncertainties surrounding Rivera-Hager make that impossible.

Al 's Morning Meeting, who provided this link, also has talked about how family members, coaches, 911 dispatchers and journalists, among others, are getting screwed by all of this.

Posted by Jake on 11/12/03 @ 11:02 AM
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