CLIENT ALERT: OCR Proposes Strengthening HIPAA Privacy Protections for Reproductive Health Records

By , | Published On: April 14, 2023

On April 12, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to strengthen the federal privacy protections for reproductive health records. The NPRM seeks to address concerns that reproductive health records will be disclosed to law enforcement and used to investigate and prosecute providers of lawfully provided reproductive health care or to investigate and prosecute patients seeking or obtaining lawful reproductive health care. Among the changes proposed, the NPRM would:

  • Prohibit covered entities or business associates from using and disclosing protected health information (PHI) to facilitate a criminal, civil or administrative investigation or proceeding against any person, or to identify any person in order to initiate an investigation or proceeding, where the basis for the investigation, proceeding or identification is that the person sought, obtained, provided or facilitated reproductive health care that is lawful under the circumstances in which it is provided;
  • Require covered entities to obtain an attestation from persons requesting reproductive health records in which the requestor attests that the use or disclosure is not for a prohibited purpose; and
  • Require covered entities to update their notices of privacy practices to include descriptions and examples of the prohibited uses and disclosures of reproductive health records and the uses and disclosures that require an attestation.

On May 1st, FTLF attorneys Molly Evans and Dianne Pledgie will present an Industry Update to review the disclosures currently permitted under the HIPAA Privacy Rule and to describe in detail the changes proposed in the NPRM.

Ms. Pledgie is a member of the New York and Massachusetts Bars and is not licensed in Washington, DC. Her practice is limited to federal health care matters.