Lawsuit Filed Over Stimulus Package’s Health IT Provisions
The lawsuit alleges eight counts of violating patients’ rights to privacy, due process and personal security, as well as violations to the HIPAA medical privacy rule and Federal Common Law.
Beatrice Heghmann, a registered nurse, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 25 and is seeking class action status. The lawsuit names HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle and CMS Administrator Charlene Frizzera as defendants (Goedert, Health Data Management, 7/6).
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to limit access to patients’ personal health information and prevent the distribution of the $22 billion allocated for EHR systems.
Heghmann argues that a federal stimulus package provision that aims to get all residents’ health records online by 2014 will put patients at risk of having their personal health information exposed (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 7/2).
The lawsuit states, “Since Medicare and Medicaid now cover only about 23% of the population, the Stimulus Act by design [affects] the privacy of the personal health information for the 65% of the population such as the Plaintiff and all those similarly situated who are covered by private health insurance” (Health Data Management, 7/6).