Abortion patients have limited privacy protections: HIPAA explained

The often misspelled and widely misunderstood HIPAA health privacy law provides little protection for patients who violate anti-abortion laws and subsequently seek treatment for complications.roe.

Almost half of the states have law Get ready to ban abortion if Roe v Wade was overturned, which was expected to increase the number of people traveling to other states for surgery or self-induction drugs.although surgical and medical Abortion is highly safe, with occasional complications that could put patients at legal risk if they seek help in a state that bans abortion.

Many patients feel that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 guarantees their right to absolute privacy, allowing them to tell their doctor anything without legal consequences. But in states with prohibitions, patients need to be careful about what they disclose because HIPAA allows providers to report health information to law enforcement.

1. What is HIPAA?

HIPAA privacy rules prevent covered health care providers and insurance companies from disclosing protected health information without patient consent. The rule applies to all health care providers who transmit health records electronically, as well as health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. It does not apply to entities that do not bill for insurance.

The law also applies to health care clearinghouses working within medical reimbursement systems (such as billing services), and to business partner individuals who work on behalf of providers, insurance companies, or clearinghouses and participate in the use or disclosure of identifiable health information .

2. What are some misconceptions about HIPAA?

HIPAA belongs to spotlight Amid the debate over Covid-19 vaccine mandates and vaccination status disclosures, some politicians and pro-athletes mistakenly believe they cannot freely share their health information.

Healthcare providers also tend to be overly cautious about what health information they disclose because they don’t want to face civil fines or criminal penalties for breaking the law. Sometimes, that means they don’t even give patients their own health information.

HIPAA does not apply to entities other than healthcare that may access personal medical information. “If you tell your friends you’re going to an abortion clinic, if you post on social media, if you ask for a day off,” said Kirk Nahra, co-chair of HIPAA, which is not protected by HIPAA. WilmerHale’s cybersecurity and privacy practices.

3. When can providers share health information?

health care providers may disclose Provide protected health information to law enforcement when they believe it is evidence of a crime committed on the premises, or alert law enforcement if they suspect a death is related to a crime. HIPAA does not require providers to disclose this information, but a handful State law requires providers to report any harm related to a criminal offense to law enforcement.

they can also disclose Information when public health surveillance is required by law. Nearly every state requires facilities to send confidential reports for each abortion, 28 states require facilities to report post-abortion complications, according to to the Guttmacher Institute.

Physicians who have illegal abortions are less likely to report themselves or their patients, but the situation is even more ambiguous for doctors in the face of a patient revealing that they had an abortion on their own or obtained one out of state.

Dianne Bourque, a health privacy attorney with Mintz, said that if state law requires reporting a crime, “it’s up to the doctor to decide” whether they will comply with state law. They can’t use HIPAA as an excuse not to share information because privacy laws allow it.

4. Will HIPAA be affected, if any? Roe v Wade Overthrown?

this Give way Supreme Court overturns draft decision roe Depends on believing that there is no explicit right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution.

Congress passed HIPAA because it provides information privacy protections that are not constitutional. HIPAA “with Roe v Wade Dependency,” said Alison Hoffman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in health care law and policy.

learn more:

– From Bloomberg Law:

Abortion travel ban is ‘next front’, Roy to be overturned

Abortion ballot measures multiplied in states ahead of ruling

Abortion pill use will stay after fish eggs: FDA rules explained

Spotlight: HIPAA (Bloomberg Legal subscription required)

–From Bloomberg News:

Abortion pill is safer than Tylenol, but nearly impossible to get

Overturning Roe v. Wade will make miscarriages harder to treat

If the roe is reversed, the abortion pill is the next battleground

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *