The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights today released a proposed rule that would prohibit entities regulated by the HIPAA Privacy Rule from using or disclosing protected health information to investigate or prosecute patients, providers or others involved in providing legal reproductive health services. Reproductive health care would be defined to include, but not be limited to, prenatal care, abortion, miscarriage management, infertility treatment, contraception use, and treatment for reproductive-related conditions such as ovarian cancer, OCR said. The existing Privacy Rule permits, but does not require, certain disclosures to law enforcement and others, subject to specific conditions, OCR notes. The proposed rule will be published in the April 17 Federal Register, with comments accepted for 60 days. 

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