AHA Files Lawsuit Challenging HHS Guidance on Tracking Technologies
Data Strategy, Security and Privacy attorney Paul Bond was quoted in an article published by The HIPAA Journal discussing a lawsuit filed by the American Hospital Association (AHA) against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over the December 2022 guidance issued by OCR on website tracking technologies. The lawsuit alleges that classifying metadata collected by tracking tools as protected health information is an overreach and that the guidance harms those it aims to protect. Mr. Bond commented that the guidance threatens to inappropriately expand Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protections to all interactions on hospital websites, including those by non-patients.
"The Rainer case is an attempt to bring HIPAA back to reality when it comes to websites by blocking enforcement of that guidance. OCR's December 2022 Guidance threatens to expand HIPAA to every click on every hospital website available to the public. Lots of people access hospital websites who are not patients (jobseekers, researchers and educators, hospital vendors, etc.)," he said.