Ian Lopez reports:
The Biden administration is working on a proposal to better protect the privacy of patients seeking reproductive health care, a move that follows concerns from providers struggling to offer services amid state abortion restrictions.
The Proposed Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support Reproductive Health Care Privacy (RIN 0945-AA20) by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights comes amid abortion bans in at least 24 states, and follows 2022 agency guidance for health providers to protect patient records when law enforcement requests them.
Kirk Nahra, co-chair of the cybersecurity and privacy practice at law firm Wilmer Hale, said much of the data discussed in the abortion context—such as phone location data to see whether someone was near an abortion clinic or information on shopping purchases to see whether someone was pregnant—doesn’t fall under HIPAA at all.
“No matter what you can possibly do with the HIPAA rules, you can’t address all the Dobbs reproductive rights issues, because much of the relevant data has nothing to do with the HIPAA rules,” Nahra said.
Read more at Bloomberg.