Proposed HIPAA Rule Raises Possibility of Financial Institutions Turning Over Employee Names to Health Care Patients

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A recent proposed expansion of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule would have a substantial impact on financial institutions that serve as business associates, potentially requiring them to turn over lists of employees to HIPAA covered entities’ patients and enrollees. On May 31, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule expanding an individual’s right to receive an “accounting of disclosures” under HIPAA.

The proposed rule would continue to provide individuals with the right to receive an accounting of disclosures, but would also introduce the right for an individual to receive an access report: a report listing the names of persons at the covered entity and its business associates who electronically accessed the individual’s protected health information in a “designated record set.” HHS is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 1, 2011.

Financial institutions that act as HIPAA business associates should...

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