Truer words about HIPAA – #understatedFriday

blue and silver stetoscope

This is a gem of an understatement, from Glenn Cohen at Harvard Law, as quoted recently in a great Washington Post article on the intersection between the Covid vaccine and HIPAA:

HIPAA has become one of the “most misunderstood statutes in existence,” said Glenn Cohen, a Harvard Law School professor who is an expert on health law and bioethics. “People think it does a lot more than it’s actually doing.”

More to come on this another day, but for now it suffices to say that I totally agree. HIPAA (quick reminder that it stands for Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) (yes, emphasis added) is not only misunderstood, it’s misapplied in ways that harm patients and their caregivers in innumerable heartbreakingly ironic ways.

It’s a shame, really, because the law was intended to make health information accessible to those who need the information to make decisions about their healthcare: patients (and their caregivers–who are often decisionmakers-by-proxy). Misapplying it under the guise of adhering to it thwarts that purpose, to put it mildly.

Sources: Washington Post (paywall); U.S. HHS.

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