AMA Urges Secretary Thompson to Quickly Address Modifications to Privacy Rule

Calls For Legislation to Fully Protect Patient Privacy



Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Medical Association

    WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is
 attributable to Donald J. Palmisano, MD AMA Trustee:
 
     "Although Secretary Thompson has indicated that the privacy rule will be
 implemented with no delay, the AMA appreciates the Secretary's commitment to
 consider the comments received in response to the final rule, to make
 necessary modifications to the rule, and issue guidelines to assist in its
 implementation.
     "The AMA urges the Secretary to quickly address those modifications and
 safeguards we called for in our earlier comments on the privacy rule.  At a
 minimum, physicians need the full two-year compliance period to modify their
 practices in order to comply with the rule.  It is imperative that any changes
 to the rule or implementation guidelines are provided as expeditiously as
 possible.
     "Many areas of the rule need strengthening.  For example, law enforcement
 officials will have virtually unfettered access to protected health
 information without patient authorization and without a court order.  Also, in
 many instances health plans are not required to obtain consent to use or
 disclose patient health records.
     "Ironically, the rule does substantially increase the administrative
 burdens for the physicians -- the one sector of the health care system already
 ethically bound to safeguard patient privacy.  The rule prescribes burdensome
 documentation and recordkeeping provisions on physicians that are unlikely to
 provide any real added privacy protections for patients.
     "Patient privacy is fundamental to the physician-patient relationship and
 a right long advocated by the AMA.  The AMA believes that with further
 improvement the final rule, it can serve as a starting point for basic privacy
 protections for all patients.  Meanwhile, Congress needs to continue its work
 to pass legislation to extend privacy requirements to all entities that handle
 patient information including employers, marketers, life insurers and others."
 
 

SOURCE American Medical Association
    WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is
 attributable to Donald J. Palmisano, MD AMA Trustee:
 
     "Although Secretary Thompson has indicated that the privacy rule will be
 implemented with no delay, the AMA appreciates the Secretary's commitment to
 consider the comments received in response to the final rule, to make
 necessary modifications to the rule, and issue guidelines to assist in its
 implementation.
     "The AMA urges the Secretary to quickly address those modifications and
 safeguards we called for in our earlier comments on the privacy rule.  At a
 minimum, physicians need the full two-year compliance period to modify their
 practices in order to comply with the rule.  It is imperative that any changes
 to the rule or implementation guidelines are provided as expeditiously as
 possible.
     "Many areas of the rule need strengthening.  For example, law enforcement
 officials will have virtually unfettered access to protected health
 information without patient authorization and without a court order.  Also, in
 many instances health plans are not required to obtain consent to use or
 disclose patient health records.
     "Ironically, the rule does substantially increase the administrative
 burdens for the physicians -- the one sector of the health care system already
 ethically bound to safeguard patient privacy.  The rule prescribes burdensome
 documentation and recordkeeping provisions on physicians that are unlikely to
 provide any real added privacy protections for patients.
     "Patient privacy is fundamental to the physician-patient relationship and
 a right long advocated by the AMA.  The AMA believes that with further
 improvement the final rule, it can serve as a starting point for basic privacy
 protections for all patients.  Meanwhile, Congress needs to continue its work
 to pass legislation to extend privacy requirements to all entities that handle
 patient information including employers, marketers, life insurers and others."
 
 SOURCE  American Medical Association