Joy Pritts, Angela Choy, Leigh Emmart & Joanne Hustead, The State of Health Privacy: Volumes 1 and 2 (2d ed. 2002) (full-text).
While the Federal Health Privacy Rules have established some uniform minimum standards, state health privacy laws remain diverse in the rights and protections that they afford. Because the Federal Health Privacy Rules do not cover all who hold health information and do not preempt many state laws, the level of protection afforded to health information continues to vary depending on who is holding the information and the state in which they are located.
This survey presents a summary of state statutes, not laws. This distinction is important: for the most part, it does not research or include regulations or common law, both of which ultimately must be understood in order to know the full range of protections at the state level.
The survey is also not exhaustive. There are many more statutes that address the confidentiality of health information. The summaries speak most directly to the use and disclosure of information gathered and shared in the context of providing and paying for health care.
Medical information is used in many different settings and for many different reasons. There are innumerable state laws that speak to the confidentiality of health information — such as laws on workers compensation, public health reporting, adoption records, birth and death records, motor vehicle requirements, minor's rights, and so on — that are not generally addressed in these summaries.