The digital era has been a boon to the health-care industry, replacing illegible physician notes with electronic copies and letting records get e-mailed instantaneously. But it has come with some costs, chiefly the rising threat of computer hackers intent on stealing patient information. An upcoming government proposal is set to give patients some financial recourse when data breaches happen.
The proposed rule from the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights would ask for public comment on creating a way to share a percentage of the proceeds from health-care data breach settlements with individuals who were harmed by the breach. The proposal was included in the HHS semiannual regulatory agenda, and an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking is expected to be published in November.
However, implementing the proposal won’t be easy. Determining who is directly harmed by a data breach and how much they should be paid is a complex question and will pose an administrative challenge for the government, Andrea L. Frey, a health-care attorney with Hooper, Lundy & Bookman PC in San Francisco, told me.
“Very rarely is harm provable with data breaches, and more often than not the harm ends up being entirely speculative,” Frey said. Breaches can affect thousands of patients records, which also complicates the effort to calculate a payment, Frey said.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act included a provision mandating the sharing of breach civil monetary penalties with affected individuals, but it hasn’t been acted on until now.
The proposal could also create an environment where physician practices have frivolous complaints lodged against them by individuals simply in the hopes of receiving a financial reward, Robert Tennant, director of health information technology policy at the Englewood, Colo.-based Medical Group Management Association, told me.
Read my story here.
Stay on top of new developments in health law and regulation, and learn more, by signing up for a free trial to Bloomberg Law.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)