Tyler Kingkade reports:
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education expressing concern that current federal law may permit universities to review a student’s medical records without their permission.
“I am troubled that there appears to be a loophole in federal privacy law that allows the personal and private conversations a student has after a traumatic experience to be released by a university under the laws governing educational records,” Bonamici said in a statement. “Students who seek treatment on campus deserve the same level of privacy as other patients, whose medical records are protected under federal health law.”
Read more on Huffington Post.
I’m so pleased that there’s been more awareness and coverage of student privacy issues in the past year or so. That doesn’t guarantee us that we’ll wind up with good policies and laws, but it’s a start.
Over on edSurge, Charley Locke writes:
On March 9, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released an online framework of common standards for education data privacy. Over 30 nonprofits and associations have endorsed the framework, including the School Superintendents Association and the National PTA.
The 10 principles aim to create basic standards for how edtech companies and districts approach data privacy by establishing clear expectations, which include giving families and educators timely access to data and imposing limits, so that companies can only access the data they need.
Read more on edSurge. This issue is a different issue than the one addressing the intersection of HIPAA and FERPA, but they are both part of the larger issue that needs to be addressed within one unifying framework.
For many years, some of us have been saying it’s time to go back to the drawing board – that FERPA is no longer suitable for its purpose. The complaints sent to FPCO, discussed on this site in the past, demonstrates that there is little protection and even less enforcement for privacy issues that matter to parents and students.
We can – and must – do better. And as part of any solution, it’s time that campus counseling records were afforded the same protections as they would be at a HIPAA-covered clinic.