Uber headquarters. Photo credit: Jason Doiy/ALM

Uber Technologies Inc. has hired a veteran lobbyist in Washington, D.C., to pursue the ride-hailing company’s agenda on policies related to health care and medical-records privacy, according to a federal disclosure filed Tuesday.

Ann Waldo of Waldo Law Offices reported that her lobbying work would focus on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and health care policy related to “transportation, ridesharing and innovation.” The disclosure also notes Waldo will focus on compliance matters.

Neither Waldo nor Uber responded to messages seeking comment about the filing.

Uber and Lyft Inc. are increasingly providing non-emergency medical transportation services. Both companies have teamed up with Boston-based company Circulation to provide rides for patients to more than 700 participating health facilities in 25 states. Circulation allows medical professionals to book patient rides with Uber and Lyft on what it touts as a HIPAA-compliant platform.

A team from Carlton Fields in 2016 provided a snapshot of some of the health care implications as the ride-sharing industry pushes into services for patients. “Even if a platform is HIPAA-compliant, providers risk potential imposition of stiff penalties for data breaches, and business associate agreements should be implemented between providers and ridesharing companies,” the firm said in an alert.

Uber disclosed last November that a 2016 data breach exposed information contained in 57 million driver and rider accounts.

One of the Carlton Fields alert’s authors, associate Erica Mallon, said she has not seen any regulatory guidance aimed specifically at ride-sharing companies offering medical transports, although she said the sector continues to grow.

Uber and other gig-economy companies have also supported a push to create “portable benefits” for independent contractors and on-demand workers.

Waldo Law Offices was formerly Washington Health Strategies Group. Lobbying clients have included CVS, Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions and the data analytics company Inmar Inc.

Uber’s stable of outside federal lobbyists at law and government relations firms include Mayer Brown, Ballard Partners, and Peck Madigan Jones. Tuesday’s disclosure appears to be the first time the company has hired a lobbyist specifically on health care matters.

 

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