Health privacy restricted?

Bill aims to limit scope of Confidentiality of Medical Information Act

A bill introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would limit the scope of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.

Currently, the state’s health privacy law allows patients to file suit against a health-care provider in the event their health-care records are released without their consent, according to Healthcare IT News. Skinner’s legislation, Assembly Bill 439, seeks to exempt health-care corporations from damage awards if they can provide “affirmative defense” in a lawsuit, which critics claim allows health-care businesses to leak patient information without being held accountable.

Skinner said the bill would update the law “for the digital age, protecting patient privacy while also recognizing that inappropriate release may occur even when providers adopt strict protections.” However, several notable organizations, such as Consumer Watchdog, argue that the bill would remove a financial consequence that helps protect privacy.