American Recovery Act Includes Strong Medical Information Safeguards

President Obama signed the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, which includes comprehensive safeguards for medical information. The Act prohibits the unauthorized sale of medical records and provides exceptions for research, public health and treatment. The Act also limits marketing, requires covered entities and business associates to keep an audit trail of personnel having access to the information, mandates policies setting standards for technology systems to restrict sensitive information, use data encryption and directs breach notifications. The new law prescribes monetary penalties for violations and requires monitoring of contracts and reporting on compliance. Patient Privacy Rights led the campaign for strong medical privacy protection. For more information, see EPIC's page on Medical Privacy.

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