Interesting editorial appearing in the January 6, 2006, edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer discussing the impact of pending litigation involving the "privacy rule" under HIPAA.
The editorial looks at ongoing litigation pending in federal court before the Third Circuit. The editorial brings back to the forefront one of the highly debated questions when the proposed privacy rule became final. The issue of whether patients should have the right to give consent for all releases of private health information vs. allowing the release of specific health information without obtaining consent. The final rule was modified removing the consent requirement and replacing it with a general rule that allows releases without prior consent in common situations where health information is needed by some third party (for those who understand HIPAA these are the "treatment, payment and health care operations" exceptions under HIPAA).
Thanks to Alan Goldberg via the American Health Lawyers Association Listserve you can also check out the Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in Citizens for Health et al. v. Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.