Susannah Baruch Sounds Alarm on Privacy Protections for Pregnancy Health Data

Susannah Baruch (’95), Executive Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, authored a blog post for Bill of Health discussing how the film Preconceived exposes “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) misuse of HIPPA to obtain and exploit personal health data (“Our ‘Preconceived’ Notions of HIPAA,” Mar. 9). “It seems the CPC industry is collecting health information by ‘performing’ HIPAA while operating under no legal obligation to protect the privacy of personal or health information. . . . But based on our understanding of their practices and legal status, despite their names, promises, and actions, most of these places don’t provide real health care or have real health care providers, so they would not be ‘covered entities’ under HIPAA. . . . I’d like to see Federal policymakers 1) provide official guidance on the circumstances when CPC may be a covered entity under HIPAA; (2) define representations of HIPAA compliance by non-covered entities as deceptive; and (3) ensure that using collected data to track, stalk, or harass people who have visited a center or website is impermissible.”