An initiative aimed at making California's health privacy laws easier to understand and more streamlined with federal standards has stalled. A year into this harmonization of state and federal standards finds the program needs focus, lacks adequate transparency and isn't providing enough opportunity for public input. CDT believes industry and consumers could benefit from the effort, but changes are needed to make the initiative a success.
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The harmonization effort is aimed at eliminating conflicts, confusion and inconsistencies between the primary health privacy laws at the state and federal level. An advisory group, the Privacy and Security Steering Team (PSST), will provide its harmonizing recommendations to the agency that oversees California's health privacy laws. The agency will give the recommendations to the state legislature as a proposed amendment to the state's primary health law, which, if adopted, could lead to significant changes.
Consumer's Union (CU) and CDT recently issued a joint letter endorsing efforts to make health privacy and security policy in California more protective for consumers and less burdensome to industry. Success here is critical, the letter says, "to securing public trust in the use of [health information technology] to improve individual and population health."