Manatt Healthcare Partner Comments on HIPAA Final Rule

Manatt Healthcare Partner Comments on HIPAA Final Rule

"HIPAA Final Rule Brings Changes to Marketing, Fundraising"
Healthcare Finance News

March 11, 2013 – Manatt's Robert Belfort, a partner in the firm's Healthcare Division, spoke to Healthcare Finance News about the HIPAA Privacy and Security Omnibus final rule that was issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on January 17.

As reported by Healthcare Finance News, the final rule fills in gaps, clarifies and finalizes some changes to safeguard the privacy, security and enforcement of patient information. The modifications are in response to the 2009 HITECH Act in the stimulus law, which strengthened the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA.)

Under the previous HIPAA privacy rule, a hospital could only use limited demographic information about its patients for fundraising purposes, said Belfort.

"Many of my hospital clients have had an interest in targeting fundraising based on the nature of the services a patient received or who their doctor was, and having doctors make personal appeals to the patients, or targeting, say, cancer fundraising at people who had been treated for cancer. They really were not permitted to do that under the prior rule," he said.

Now that's been loosened so that information about the type of department a patient was in within the hospital and who their physician was can be used for fundraising. Patients have the right to opt-out, and hospitals will have to include a notice on all fundraising communications that the patient has the right to opt-out of solicitations, Belfort said.

"It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the patient reaction is," Belfort said. "Right now patients shouldn't be getting fundraising solicitation where they can see they've been targeted based on the nature of the services they got. I don't know whether patients will have a negative reaction to getting solicitations that indicate fundraisers have looked at their data in more detail."

Read the article here.



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