EPIC Urges HHS to Prioritize Patient Privacy in Modifications to HIPAA Privacy Rule

In comments to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), EPIC opposed proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule reducing restrictions on disclosing patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI). HHS's proposed rule would expand the entities that can receive PHI without patient consent, lower the standard for disclosing PHI in the process of care coordination, and specifically authorized certain non-consensual disclosures of PHI for patients with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. EPIC argued that the modifications will expose patients to greater risk of data breach and increase barriers to receiving care for stigmatized populations without providing benefits to patients. Recently, EPIC Executive Director Alan Butler and Counsel Enid Zhou published a paper in the American University Law Review analyzing the increased collection of health data during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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