Governance, Risk and Compliance, Data Security, Privacy

HIPAA updated to include more robust reproductive health data privacy protections

Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights enforcement

The Department of Health and Human Services has introduced updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that would prevent healthcare organizations, doctors, and insurers from providing protected health information to state prosecutors in a bid to bolster abortion providers' and patients' privacy protections, according to The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

Health providers', plans', and clearinghouses' commitment to prevent the use of personal health details for criminal probes or lawsuits should be put into writing under the new rule, which is expected to take effect within the next two months. Such a development, which HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said is part of the Biden administration's efforts to strengthen lawful reproductive healthcare, has been hailed by privacy advocates.

"Everyone deserves access to care they need, including reproductive care, and protecting medical records and other personal health information covered by HIPAA is central to making that a reality," said Center for Democracy and Technology CEO Alexandra Reeves Givens.

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