Surveys of Workers Possibly Exposed to Anthrax and Obtaining Medical Records from Their Health Care Providers Before and After the Revised HIPAA Regulation
Evans, B., & Burke, B. (2005, August). Surveys of Workers Possibly Exposed to Anthrax and Obtaining Medical Records from Their Health Care Providers Before and After the Revised HIPAA Regulation. Presented at Joint Statistical Meetings, Minneapolis, MN.
As part of a prevention program initiated as a consequence of bioterrorist attacks involving Bacillus anthracis in mailings during the fall of 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), undertook post-exposure prophylaxis for approximately 10,000 persons, and contracted with RTI International to conduct telephone interviews and medical record follow-up for all of these persons. The evaluation consisted of follow-ups at 2, 6, 12, and 24 months after the initial receipt of the post-exposure prophylaxis. On April 14, 2003, new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations were put into effect, limiting the release of medical records by health care providers. CDC and RTI were concerned that these HIPAA revisions would adversely impact medical record collection activities. CDC and RTI faced this challenge by changing procedures to specifically allay concerns about the applicability of HIPAA regulations in obtaining records from medical providers. RTI achieved a 56%, 74%, 86%, and 83% cooperation rate respectively in the 2, 6, 12, and 24 month follow-ups. Preliminary results indicate that the medical providers were more willing to cooperate if the applicability of HIPAA was clarified.