Patient Privacy at Risk…

The insidiousness of the Trump administration continues to creep into our lives, in ways large and small.  Now patient privacy is at stake.

For those of you not familiar, HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.  One of its functions is to establish policies for how patient information may be shared.

It’s already a bit confusing and shady.  (Granted, I’m currently binge-watching Handmaid’s Tale.)  In December, HHS announced that it is proposing a number of changes to HIPAA.  Among these changes, under the guise of “easing regulations,” would be that patients diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) or opioid use disorder (OUD) could have their medical records released without their consent.

Needless to say this is horrifying and unacceptable.  Ranking Democratic Senators Murray and Wyden have sent a letter to HHS expressing reservations about these proposed changes, calling it a “dangerous precedent”.  For a deeper dive into the subject, check out this great Twitter thread and this in-depth blog post.


We have until tomorrow night (February 12th) at midnight to submit public comments to HHSopposing these rule changes.  You may post anonymously if you wish.  Here is an excellent guide with tips on leaving the most effective message.

Many thanks to member Lee Abuabara for bringing this matter to our attention.  Glad you’re feeling better, Lee!