Comment: A few commenters stated that foreign military and diplomatic personnel, and their dependents, and overseas foreign national beneficiaries, should not be excluded from the definition of "individual."
Response: We agree with concerns stated by commenters and eliminate these exclusions from the definition of "individual" in the final rule. Special rules for use and disclosure of protected health information about foreign military personnel are stated in § 164.512(k). Under the final rule, protected health information about diplomatic personnel is not accorded special treatment. While the exclusion of overseas foreign national beneficiaries has been deleted from the definition of "individual," we have revised § 164.500 to indicate that the rule does not apply to the Department of Defense or other federal agencies or non-governmental organizations acting on its behalf when providing health care to overseas foreign national beneficiaries. This means that the rule will not cover any health information created incident to the provision of health care to foreign nationals overseas by U.S. sponsored missions or operations. (See § 164.500 and its corresponding preamble for details and the rationale for this policy.)
Comment: Several commenters expressed concern about the interrelationship of the definition of "individual" and the two year privacy protection for deceased persons.
Response: In the final rule, we eliminate the two year limit on privacy protection for protected health information about deceased individuals and require covered entities to comply with the requirements of the rule with respect to the protected health information of deceased individuals as long as they hold such information. See discussion under § 164.502.