"Information is Powerful Medicine" -- Health Information Privacy and Civil Rights Enforcement
In health care settings, HIV-related discrimination can take the form of neglect, differential treatment, denial of care and non-consensual disclosure of HIV status. Stigma and discrimination stop many people from getting tested and staying in treatment to keep viral loads undetectable. This panel of civil rights and health information privacy experts will discuss how education and enforcement are working hand in hand to protect the rights of individuals with HIV, including: (1) HHS OCR’s new health information privacy education campaign, “Information is Powerful Medicine,” which aims to increase awareness of HIPAA rights and benefits among HIV+ Black men who have sex with men (http://www.aids.gov/privacy/); (2) HHS OCR’s privacy enforcement work, including a $1,000,000 settlement with Mass General to resolve potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule affecting patients with HIV (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/02/20110224b.html); (3) DOJ’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, which addresses HIV discrimination in health care settings (http://www.ada.gov/aids/index.htm), through a partnership between DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country; and (4) HHS OCR’s civil rights enforcement efforts, including the July 2013 termination of Medicaid payments to a California surgeon who refused to operate on an HIV+ patient (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/07/20130718b.html).
Rachel Seeger and Ken Johnson, HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Washington, DC; Jorge Lozano, HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Region VI, Dallas, TX; Alberto Ruisanchez, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC