More than a quarter of the hospitals and health clinics in the US have already been added to a list of health insurers with some of the most restrictive privacy rules in the country, a new study shows.
A review of data from more than 10 million people who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of hospitals and other health care providers are on the list, with the vast majority (70%) not disclosing what kind of data they collect.
The data was obtained by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is a nonpartisan research and policy organization, from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which compiles data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The report said that while hospitals and providers are required to post the names of patients and other information on their websites, many do not do so.
The most common reason hospitals do not provide that information is that the information is not shared with healthcare providers or the general public.
In fact, nearly half of the 2,000 hospitals and 3,500 other health facilities that the Kaiser Foundation identified do not disclose that they have a “no patient data policy”, according to the report.
The group said it will be releasing more detailed data on the privacy of healthcare providers, which it expects to release next month.
“We’re trying to get better data on how we collect the data, how it’s used, and how the data is being used,” said Dr Amy Hartman, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
“But we don’t want to be overly concerned that there are hospitals out there that are still not doing their jobs.”
Public Citizen’s report highlights the importance of data sharing, which the group said is vital for the health care system to maintain a level playing field.
“The ACA has put in place new privacy rules for all insurers, including hospitals and private employers, to protect privacy and improve patient care,” Hartman said.
“Health care is expensive and patients need to know where they can get the care they need.
Data is critical to that effort.”
The group also said hospitals must disclose what information is collected from enrollees to their providers and to CMS, which has made its privacy policies more detailed.