Coalition to Congress: Don’t pass health IT bill without privacy protections

A coalition of 47 organizations that span the political spectrum today called on Congress to refrain from passing health information technology legislation unless the measure would protect the privacy of health information.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, the Coalition for Patient Privacy released a letter it is sending to members of Congress to influence the content of health IT bills pending in the House and the Senate.
“Despite the good intentions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and its ‘Privacy Rule,’ the current regulations leave all Americans’ personal health information completely vulnerable and exposed,” the letter stated.
“Setting national privacy standards is a job for Congress, not unelected agency appointees, who for the most part represent industry,” the letter added.
Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights and leader of the coalition, said that in the 18 months since the coalition held its last press conference on Capitol Hill, Microsoft Corp. and other organizations have joined the coalition. “Congress was amazed that so many people were in favor of privacy from both sides of the issue,” she said.

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