New IT bill aims for greater privacy

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The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee proposed legislation that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to develop medical privacy standards in the area of information technology.

Co-sponsored by Subcommittee Chair Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Nathan Deal (R-GA), the bill would require HHS to evaluate how state privacy laws and data transaction standards affect the flow of medical information and whether state and federal privacy laws should conform to a single set of national standards.
Based on the conclusion of the agency, Congress would then have three years to enact the standards or HHS would have the authority to create a uniform system for health information privacy and security, according to the legislation. The bill also proposes easing restrictions on the donation of information technology equipment to doctors.
(Published 10-31-05)