Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in May was expected to issue his first guideline to the medical privacy rule. Thompson made the announcement on April 26 during testimony on a range of issues before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee.The Bush Administration in April allowed the privacy rule to go into effect, but assured the industry that it would make clarifications or modifications to address contentious parts of the rule.

"President Bush and I strongly believe we must protect both vital health care services and the right of every American to have confidence that his or her personal medical records will remain private," Thompson said in his testimony.

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