The House of Representatives is currently divided on HIPAA changes that are proposed by different bills that are currently under discussion. In both cases the bills deal with HIPAA changes where mental health issues are concerned. There have been many moving testimonies for both bills and both aim to address different aspects of HIPAA privacy rules that may create unsafe situations for patients dealing with mental illness issues.
Both of the bills are examining changing the HIPAA privacy rule in regards to mental illness in particular where sharing patient information with the people closest to them is concerned. There are many instances every year in which important information dealing with patient health and safety is not shared with those closest to them due to the HIPAA privacy policies. In these cases sharing the information is often vitally important to the patient’s wellbeing. However, most companies are not confident in sharing it for the worry of violating HIPAA requirements. In many cases, sharing the information would have helped to safeguard the health of the patient and their friends and family.
Two different bills are seeking to address this issue and allow health care entities to share vital information, especially when it concerns the safety of a patient, with their friends and family. The House is currently divided on what the best path is, however. Additionally, the House is examining where the funding for new programs would come from. Some are suggesting that the budgets to prisons and similar are decreased since a large number of inmates are actually mental health patients that have ended up in the correctional programs.