June 5, 2006


Medical Privacy Law Nets No Fines (Rob Stein, June 5, 2006, Washington Post)

In the three years since Americans gained federal protection for their private medical information, the Bush administration has received thousands of complaints alleging violations but has not imposed a single civil fine and has prosecuted just two criminal cases.

Of the 19,420 grievances lodged so far, the most common allegations have been that personal medical details were wrongly revealed, information was poorly protected, more details were disclosed than necessary, proper authorization was not obtained or patients were frustrated getting their own records.

The government has "closed" more than 73 percent of the cases -- more than 14,000 -- either ruling that there was no violation, or allowing health plans, hospitals, doctors' offices or other entities simply to promise to fix whatever they had done wrong, escaping any penalty.

"Our first approach to dealing with any complaint is to work for voluntary compliance. So far it's worked out pretty well," said Winston Wilkinson, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, which is in charge of enforcing the law. [...]

Representatives of hospitals, insurance companies, health plans and doctors praised the administration's emphasis on voluntary compliance, saying it is the right tack, especially because the rules are complicated and relatively new.

"It has been an opportunity for hospitals to understand better what their requirements are and what they need to do to come into compliance," said Lawrence Hughes of the American Hospital Association.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 5, 2006 7:26 AM

The "Freedom of Information Act" locked more Gov. information behind a wall.

The "Paperwork Reduction Act" creates more paperwork on its face.

Each Campaign Finance law made the system more corrupt than the system was.

...and...(Drum roll please)

The Health Privacy Act made pretty much made health records private only to the actual patient, and set in place another giant bureacracy that could share anything they want about you.

Please think about these things as you contemplate Orwellian piles of crap like "Public Education," "Homeland Security", and the like.

Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

Posted by: Bruno at June 5, 2006 11:10 AM