From Medscape, an editorial by their founder: Are We Really Better Off With HIPAA? There’s a video of Mr. Frishauf reading his editorial, slowly, if you want to watch, but the entire text is under the video box.
Are We Really Better Off With HIPAA?
Whether you’re an American clinician or patient, there’s no escaping the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Republicans and Democrats assured us it would make healthcare better.
But has it?
Unless you’re a HIPAA consultant, a compliance officer, or some other bureaucrat, the answer is generally no.
The thing that bothers me most about HIPAA is its expensive, annoying, and — in the end — meaningless implementation. Clinicians have to get all patients to sign forms, which they then file, or they get into trouble, and could face huge fines. Insurance companies must do the same, but then require patients to forget about their privacy if they want insurance. So most do.
Hospitals cringe at the thought of HIPAA fines. Their well-paid consultants design elaborate, expensive systems to ensure compliance.
I will concede one good thing about HIPAA, and that’s the health insurance portability. Title I protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs — and this part of the law is working.
But the much ballyhooed “privacy” parts of the law are a failure that could easily be repealed with financial savings to healthcare and no adverse effects that I can think of. In fact, US medicine without these provisions could be better, as information sharing would be easier. And that usually helps patients a lot more than it hurts them.
That’s my opinion, and I’m Peter Frishauf, founder of Medscape.
That’s my opinion as well. Mountains of paperwork, which serve only to further erode public trust in government (another meaningless form you HAVE TO SIGN, thanks for watching out for my rights) and put one more impediment in the wheels of progress.
Also, let’s not forget that the first (and as far as I can tell by Googling, only) use of HIPAA was to convict a hospital employee of identity theft. He should have gone to jail, but there’s already laws against identity theft.
And, it’s here to stay. The continuous creep of government intrusiveness into our lives continues no matter which part is in power in Washington. There’s no chance this will be overturned, politicians lack the “Oh, that was a mistake, and we’ll fix it” gene.
Image from PrawfsBlawg. Don’t want to tick off the lawyers.