Administration to propose rules to protect privacy of medical records
October 27, 1999
From White House Correspondent John King:
Web posted at: 9:06 p.m. EDT (0106 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Clinton administration soon will
propose broad new rules designed to protect the privacy of
medical records, acting through executive power to address an
issue on which Congress has been unable to reach a consensus.
Administration officials said the new regulations will be
released in the next week or so. In them, the administration
- Make it tougher for insurance companies to share data for
reasons unrelated to medical treatment or to justify payment
- Require insurers to inform consumers about their policies
concerning access to medical records.
- Require HMOs and other health plans to get patients'
permission to share any personal or medical information for
marketing or most medical research.
- Forbid the release of entire medical records when only a
portion of the information is required to answer a legitimate
Increased electronic data sharing heightens need
Administration officials say the rules are necessary to
protect privacy -- all the more so now because of the rapidly
expanding practice of hospitals, doctors, pharmacists and
HMOs transferring and sharing medical data electronically,
often without patients' knowledge.
But even as the administration publishes the new regulations
and invites public comment, Clinton will call on Congress to
take additional steps, such as creating a new federal right
to sue a doctor or HMO for violating a patients' privacy
The administration has sought advice from an array of
consumer groups, and these organizations are said to support
the bulk of the administration's plan.
Health industry says cost will be billions
Health industry groups are alarmed by the measures, in part
because they say it will cost billions to comply with the new
regulations. The industry also has said the rules could have
a countereffect -- that they could hinder patients' access to
their own records.
Expanding HMO patients' lawsuit rights sparks debate
October 8, 1999
Health care returns as an issue
October 4, 1999
GOP proposes health care legislation for nation's uninsured
September 28, 1999
HMO study shows higher costs for Medicare recipients
September 22, 1999
HMOs test 911 alternative
September 17, 1999
HOME PAGE : U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The HMO Page
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too