The Health and Human Services Department has been criticized for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically for its decision to waive certain privacy and security rules. This article discusses the department’s actions and the implications of its decisions. The HHS’s decision to waive privacy and security rules has been controversial. Some argue that the department is risking people’s lives by not protecting their personal information. Others argue that the department is doing what is necessary to ensure that people can get the treatment they need.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a series of waivers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ostensibly to allow healthcare providers to more easily share patient information in order to coordinate care and treatment. However, as the article points out, these waivers have been issued without any public notice or comment period, and they raise serious privacy and security concerns (McKinstry, 2018). In particular, the waivers allow for the disclosure of patient information without the patient’s consent, and they allow for the use of unsecured methods of communication, such as text messaging. The article also raises concerns about the lack of accountability for how this information will be used and protected. Overall, the article paints a picture of HHS acting recklessly in the face of the pandemic and not taking the necessary steps to protect the privacy and security of patient information (Gellman, 2020).
The HHS should be more transparent about how patient information will be used and shared. Moreover, they should also put in place better safeguards to protect the privacy and security of this information—the importance of informed consent when it comes to health information (Wager et al., 2020). In addition, the HHS should ensure that patients are fully informed about how their information will be used and shared before they waive their privacy rights. Furthermore, the HHS should also make sure that patient information is only shared with those who have a need to know it and that it is protected from unauthorized access.
The author raises valid concerns about the HHS’s decision to waive privacy and security rules. However, it is also essential to consider the potential benefits of this decision. For example, it could allow for a more rapid and effective pandemic response by making it easier to identify and track cases. It could also help to improve our understanding of the virus and how it spreads. In weighing the risks and benefits, it is important to consider the specific context of the pandemic and the potential consequences of not sharing information (Tovino, 2020). It is also important to remember that the HHS is not the only organization sharing patient information during the pandemic. Moreover, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other organizations share a lot of patient information. However, the HHS needs to be more transparent about how patient information is being shared and used by all of these organizations.
In conclusion, the article raises some valid concerns about the potential risks of waiving the HIPAA rules. However, it is important to note that the waiver is only in effect for a limited time and only applies to certain healthcare providers. Additionally, the article does not mention the potential benefits of the waiver, such as the ability to share patient information more efficiently in order to improve treatment and care. Overall, the article provides a valuable perspective on the potential risks and benefits of the HHS’s decision to waive some of the HIPAA rules during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gellman, R., Dixon, P. (2020, September 16). Covid-19 and HIPAA: HHS’s Troubled Approach to Waiving Privacy and Security Rules for the Pandemic. World Privacy Forum. Retrieved from https://www.worldprivacyforum.org/2020/09/covid-19-and-hipaa/
McKinstry, C. J. (2018). The HIPAA privacy rule: flawed privacy exposed when compared with the European Union’s general data protection regulation. Journal of Health Care Finance.
Tovino, S. A. (2020). COVID-19 and the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Asked and Answered. Stetson L. Rev., 50, 365.
Wager, K. A., Frances Wickham Lee, & Glaser, J. P. (2017). Health care information systems: a practical approach for health care management (4th ed.). Jossey-Bass.