To view the full article in Bizjournals.com by Vanessa Van Voorhis, please visit Abercrombie signs Hawaii patient privacy protection law.
The people of Hawaii just lost their rights to health privacy. The Hawaiian legislature replaced all its far stronger health privacy laws with HIPAA.
Like most of the public, Hawaiian lawmakers believe HIPAA protects privacy, but it doesn’t. It hasn’t for 10 years. The key privacy protection in HIPAA was eliminated in 2002. The media has never reported this.
- President Bush put HIPAA in place when he took office. At first, HIPAA required that others had to ask for consent before using or disclosing our health information for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.
- But in 2002, the federal Department of Health and Human Services eliminated the right of consent. So now HIPAA is a Disclosure Rule:
- “The consent provisions…are replaced with a new provision…that provides regulatory permission for covered entities to use and disclose protected health information for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.” 67 Fed. Reg. 53,183
That means millions of people who work at hospitals, doctors offices, labs, health plans, data clearinghouse, government agencies, pharmacies and other places that hold health records (“covered entities”) decide when to use and disclose them, not us.
This new law is a privacy disaster for Hawaiians. They will suffer:
- loss of the privacy of sensitive information about their minds, bodies, and genes
- generations of discrimination
- embarrassment and loss of reputation
- job, credit, and insurance discrimination
- ID theft
- medical ID theft (where others use their health insurance to pay for treatment or for insurance fraud)