HIPAA criticized; SCHIP bill signed

The Institute of Medicine issued a report today concluding that “the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not protect privacy as well as it should, and that, as currently implemented, it impedes important health research.” When I think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that health plans and providers have invested in HIPAA compliance, this conclusion about the inadequacy of HIPAA is hard to swallow.

President Obama signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill today after the House of Representatives passed the Senate version which lacks certain House bill provisions that the medical community found objectionable. This Washington Post article summarizes the new law’s key aspect.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Humana is creating smart ID cards based on MGMA’s Project SwipeIt recommendations. IT News is reporting that United Healthcare is making similar modifications to to create its own smart enrollment cards.

UnitedHealth Group collaborated with the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as physician and hospital associations to create the new healthcare ID card standards. “These new national standards will create a single platform that simplifies the exchange of information between insurers and care providers so that verifying important patient information will be as easy as a swipe of a card,” said Peter Barry, co-chair, WEDI Workgroup for National Provider Identifier Implementation and CEO, Enumeron, LLC.