Confidentiality of Individually Identifiable Health Information. K. Particular Classes of Information


At present, we recommend that Federal health confidentiality law treat all types of health information alike. The intent is to provide a meaningful minimum floor of privacy protections in Federal law for all types of health information. We recognize, however, that there is a great deal of support for providing additional protection to certain types of health care information that people feel to be particularly sensitive. For example, Federal and State laws already provide stronger protections for certain information, (such as information about HIV status, substance abuse patient information, and mental health records), and we recommend that these standards remain in place. We further recognize that additional types of particularly sensitive information may be identified for special protection in the future, and look forward to working with the Congress in determining when such protections are appropriate.

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The following are our recommendations for the contents of a federal health privacy statute. There will be many important details to be discussed, both in drafting legislation and then in developing implementing regulations. The following recommendations are not intended to address privacy policy at that level of detail. Rather, the following are statements of principle and policy that describe our recommended framework for federal health privacy legislation. We look forward to working with the Congress on a bi-partisan basis to advance these principles and enact Federal legislation that provides a basic set of rights with respect to health information to all Americans. This is an essential beginning.