GAO cites HHS for not establishing IT milestones

In an update of a January report, the Government Accountability Office has again criticized HHS for failing to have an integrated approach to developing a national privacy policy for healthcare information technology. In testimony before a congressional oversight subcommittee Tuesday, the GAO also cited HHS for not establishing milestones to measure its own progress toward that end.
But the GAO itself came in line for some harsh words, this time from a pair of privacy advocates who charge that the congressional watchdog has kept its head in the sand when it comes to the current privacy environment and the lack of protection afforded by a key federal privacy rule.
Meanwhile, the head of a coalition composed mostly of healthcare systems and pharmaceutical manufacturers and resellers testified in defense of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule, while warning against adding privacy constraints to it and calling for eliminating by federal pre-emption the more stringent state privacy laws that HIPAA now allows. And, a privacy expert who worked on developing HIPAA during the Clinton administration, chided the Justice Department and HHS for failing to enforce the act’s existing privacy provisions.
{In an update of a January report, the Government Accountability Office has again criticized HHS for failing to have an integrated approach to developing a national privacy policy for healthcare information technology. But the GAO itself came in line for some harsh words, this time from a pair of privacy advocates who charge that the congressional watchdog has kept its head in the sand when it comes to the current privacy environment and the lack of protection afforded by a key federal privacy rule. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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