Mastriano: Federal HIPAA Regs Should be Suspended During Coronavirus Pandemic

HARRISBURG – As a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) is introducing a measure calling upon the federal government to temporarily suspend the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Mastriano is proposing a concurrent resolution that would suspend the 1996 law and allow for full disclosure of details that are currently considered private, and are not disclosed to the public.

“I am concerned that existing HIPAA regulations are threatening the lives of our citizens and depriving Pennsylvania residents of knowing if – and when – they were exposed to a contagious person,” said Mastriano. “This emergency measure is necessary to share vital and life-saving medical information with those who may have been subjected to this dangerous virus. The new information that would become available would help us combat the spread of the Coronavirus.”

As part of Mastriano’s proposal, the suspension would remain effective until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

Also, Mastriano’s measure calls upon the federal government to take “swift and immediate action” to suspend HIPAA, and urges Congress to enact appropriate legislation for HIPAA-related suspensions addressing future health pandemics.

The outbreak has resulted in statewide shutdowns of government agencies, including the regularly-scheduled Senate voting sessions, which were cancelled Monday and Tuesday. 
“It is deeply concerning that the federal government did not proactively roll-back this dangerous policy, which endangers our people,” said Mastriano. “This situation changes daily – it remains my top priority to do what is in the best interest of protecting public health, and this measure will increase transparency in an effort to quell the spread of this virus.”

Mastriano’s district offices are closed to walk-in traffic, but staff is available via phone or email during normal public business hours.

CONTACT: Scot Pitzer (717) 787-4651; spitzer@pasen.gov