GAO: Government needs better medical records privacy controls

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The Department of Health and Human Services HHS could do more to protect patient privacy, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Specifically, the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid should take more comprehensive action to ensure that privacy is not breached when the move to electronic medical records takes place, GAO said in a report issued Feb. 1. The GAO recommended that HHS identify milestones for integrating the outcomes of its privacy initiatives.

HHS has already expressed disagreement with the GAO's recommendations, according to the report. HHS primarily takes exception to the "need to identify milestones and stated that tightly scripted milestones would impede HHS's processes and preclude stakeholder dialogue on the direction of important policy matters," the report said.

The link for the report is http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-07-238 .