Proposed HIPAA update to protect Reproductive Health Care seekers and providers

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Politico 4/12/23::

Biden admin to shore up HIPAA to protect abortion seekers and providers


The Biden administration is updating the nation's main health privacy law to offer stronger legal protections to people who obtain abortions in their state or who cross state lines for the procedure, as well as their doctors and loved ones.

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights on Wednesday will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to bar health care providers and insurers from turning over information to state officials for the purpose of investigating, suing or prosecuting someone for seeking or providing a legal abortion.

The new rule adding language to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — commonly known as HIPAA — would cover both people who cross state lines to obtain a legal abortion or who qualify for an exception to their home state's ban, such as in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment....

News release:  HHS Proposes Measures to Bolster Patient-Provider Confidentiality Around Reproductive Health Care - April 12, 2023


Today, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights, issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to strengthen Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule protections by prohibiting the use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) to investigate, or prosecute patients, providers, and others involved in the provision of legal reproductive health care, including abortion care. HHS has heard from patients, providers, and organizations representing thousands of individuals that this change is needed to protect patient-provider confidentiality and prevent private medical records from being used against people for merely seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating lawful reproductive health care....

...Today's NPRM proposes to extend additional privacy protections for providers, insurers, patients and others to safeguard PHI when that information otherwise would be disclosed or used to identify, investigate, sue, or prosecute someone for seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating lawful reproductive health care. Reproductive health care would be defined to include, but not be limited to, prenatal care, abortion, miscarriage management, infertility treatment, contraception use, and treatment for reproductive-related conditions such as ovarian cancer...