Patient Privacy Is Given A Second Chance In The Senate

The expected hotlining (rushing legislation through the Senate with minimal or no debate) did not take place on S. 1693, the Wired For Quality Health Care Act sponsored by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). Right now, the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee is involved in negotiations with the Senate Finance Committee over WIRED. However, once those negotiations are completed, the bill could very well be hotlined.

Privacy advocates are concerned that WIRED does not include adequate patient privacy protections upfront.

WIRED would authorize the Electronic Health Information Network.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who understands the need for protecting patient privacy, is working to attach parts of his more privacy friendly S. 1814, the Health Information Privacy and Security Act. That also helped to forestall the Senate’s hotlining of WIRED.

Here is one important issue: Wired For Health Care Quality needs to ensure adequate consumer representation (not a token member) on the Public-Private Partnership that would be created to oversee the implementation of the EHIN

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