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Congress Removes Language Barring Prior Patient Solicitation

(Feb. 17, 2009) In negotiations on the economic stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) Congress replaced the problematic nonprofit hospital provision that barred healthcare organizations from contacting prior patients with new language that gives patients an “opt-out” from solicitations.

AFP thanks those who took the time to write and call your Members of Congress to urge them to remove the provision that barred nonprofit hospitals and other health care organizations from contacting prior patients for philanthropic purposes. AFP also appreciates the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy’s efforts on this issue.

As noted in last week’s eWire, Section 4406(b) of the House-passed version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would have prevented hospital foundations from contacting prior patients for philanthropic purposes (as is currently allowed) through an amendment to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The Senate-version of the bill did not contain that provision—the Senate removed it after receiving feedback from AFP, AHP and countless other organizations.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill today, Feb. 17.

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