Effectiveness of medical privacy law is questioned

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar writes in the Los Angeles Times:

When Congress passed a federal medical privacy law more than a decade ago, it was hailed as a new level of protection for patients nationwide. But even though the government has received about 34,000 complaints of privacy violations since it officially began enforcing the law five years ago, only a handful of defendants have been criminally prosecuted.

The half a dozen or so cases mainly involved clerical workers who pilfered patient information, using it to open credit card accounts or selling it to crooks who tried to bilk Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service.

Moreover, although the federal Health and Human Services Department has the authority to levy civil fines on medical service providers for privacy violations, it has yet to do so.

Full story – Los Angeles Times

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