Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Unintended Lyrical Befuddlement

Here is a report from the First Amendment Center on a HIPAA conference in Nashville that reads like a laundry list of misconceptions about HIPAA-- reporters whining about the public's right to know (a wonderful thing, the first amendment, designed to protect individuals and groups from being silenced, and its corallary of the public right to know is to keep the big shots in control from hiding stuff from us-- NOT to make reporters jobs easier), a hacker named "Mudge" who boasts he could bring down the internet in 30 minutes, and an anti-HIPAA crusader from here in Washington State who claims that HIPAA is less about privacy than it is about discrimination.

I like this one a lot:
"James Hudnut-Beumler, dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School and an ordained Presbyterian minister, brought an often-overlooked effect of HIPAA to light: how hard it is has become for clergy to see members of their congregations in the hospital or even get any information about them. Churches must now be very careful what they reveal about patients to their congregations, particularly in church bulletins, he said.

“It has turned us (clergy) into social engineers,” Hudnut-Beumler said. “It gets hard to do the work that you are supposed to do and that the family expects you to do.” He proposed a “good Samaritan provision” to apply to HIPAA that would protect medical personnel in the case of “well-intended disclosure,” an idea many attendees received favorably."

Of course, we all know that Vanderbilt Divinity School is not a covered entity, and I sincerely doubt that most Presbyterian congregations need to worry about the HIPAA cops inspecting their church bulletins.

Man, I wish I was at that conference, sounds like it was a blast.

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