• Julie Barnes

April 18, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

There is at least one thing to look forward to this spring: the revival of Funny Girl on Broadway. Beanie Feldstein, who made a name for herself in Book Smart, is the new Fanny Brice -- the only one who has dared play that role since Barbara Streisand made it so iconic. Matching Beanie’s talent and fearlessness is Sue Sylvester (Glee’s Coach Sue), who plays Fanny’s Mom -- which gave us a nice excuse to revisit some of her best moments on YouTube. In the One Thoughtful Paragraph below, we look at how data brokers recently got a small taste of Coach Sue’s brutal sarcasm.

Three big events that were not on Broadway last week:

  1. Duke-Margolis Inaugural Health Policy Conference. An afternoon-long discussion of healthcare policy with multiple public officials and private sector leaders, including Mark McClellan, Scott Gottlieb, Andy Slavitt, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Peter Orszag, Liz Fowler, Dan Mendelsohn, Frederick Isasi, Janet Woodcock, Lee Fleisher (the CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality), and many others.

  2. Brookings’ Wall Street Comes To Washington healthcare roundtable included lessons learned from the pandemic and discussions about telehealth, consolidation trends, the shift to alternative/value-based payment, the future of independent physician practices, and health insurance trends.

  3. HHS’ Office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) Annual Meeting. Two days of expert panels on patient access, at-home COVID test reporting, health equity, interoperability, real-world evidence, artificial intelligence and quality measures.

Did you miss any of these events last week?

If you would like a copy of our takeaways, click on this link.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

The “Coach Sue” character in Glee used ruthless but hilarious commentary to make politically incorrect points about the social issues of the day. John Oliver is a real-life nerdy version of Coach Sue -- a comedian who tells brutal truths about major issues on his HBO show called “Last Week Tonight.” He has won multiple awards for his satire of in-depth news investigations, and last week’s target was data brokers. John explained how these companies collect personal electronic information and sell it to others. In one disturbing part of the show, John featured a local news organization’s visit to a young woman’s home after purchasing a list of patients who were pregnant in Raleigh, North Carolina from a data broker. Health privacy wonks already know well what John is trying to expose -- that sensitive healthcare information is not protected by HIPAA when it is in the hands of non-healthcare organizations (like marketing firms). After showing how easy it is to get and sell consumer data, John Oliver declared that the United States is in dire need of a federal consumer data privacy law. He explained that Congress is unlikely to pass such a law because congressional campaigns are dependent on being able to buy data from brokers about voters. So, naturally, John (in a very Coach Sue-like move) blackmailed Congress by describing the information he was able to get about their embarrassing internet searches. We will see if that leads us to the passage of a new federal consumer data privacy law, or if we are the only People that watched John Oliver last week.

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