Patricia Wagner Quoted in “Going Too Far with HIPAA Compliance Threatens Care Provided to Patients”

Healthcare Risk Management

Patricia Wagner, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Litigation practices, in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in an article titled "Going Too Far with HIPAA Compliance Threatens Care Provided to Patients."

Following is an excerpt:

Healthcare providers have spent years grappling with how to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), with most of the focus on training clinicians and staff about the dangers of too freely providing protected health information (PHI). Now a new worry is emerging as some providers take HIPAA compliance too far and threaten patient care.

A recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, DC, raised the alarm that HIPAA is too far-reaching and "often misunderstood, misapplied and over-applied in ways that may inhibit information sharing unnecessarily." ?...

Publicity about HIPAA violations encourage fear and overreaction, says Patricia Wagner, JD, an attorney with the law firm of Epstein Becker Green in Washington, DC. That reaction is especially prevalent if well-meaning hospital administrators make a point of bringing the incident to staff's attention and reminding them about the need to comply with HIPAA.

"Every incident in the news about HIPAA ratchets up the angst a little more, and people become more cautious," she says.