1) Ask groups and individuals to support the federal lawsuit to restore the right to consent. Contributions can be made to help pay the costs of litigating the lawsuit. Tax-deductible checks can be sent directly to the Appeal for Privacy Foundation, P.O. Box 248, Austin, TX 78767.
2) Look at your own privacy notices. If they do not tell patients the steps they can take to protect their medical records under state laws and medical ethics, they are illegal. Ask your HIPAA expert to prepare privacy notices that follow the law.
3) Keep abreast of national efforts to protect medical privacy. See <www.medicalprivacycoalition.org> and <www.patientprivacy.info> for more information about medical privacy.
4) Encourage your congressional delegation to co-sponsor or draft other legislation to fix the serious privacy defects in HIPAA. Restoring the right to consent is the centerpiece of the bipartisan Stop Taking Our Health Privacy Act, STOHP (HR 1709). Co-sponsors Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) stated:
The purpose of this Act is to restore patient privacy protections essential for the delivery of high-quality health care that were undermined when the medical privacy rule was modified in August 2002. STOHP will restore the core medical privacy protections of the December 2000 medical privacy rule by:
A) Reinstating the patient consent requirement for treatment, payment and health care operations.
B) Returning to the 2000 definition of and thus ensuring that activities typically considered 'marketing,' such as drug companies paying pharmacies to send product recommendations to patients, fall under the rule's privacy protections governing marketing activities.
C) Eliminating the broad 'public health' loophole created by the August 2002 rule.