"We're still working for the deadline," Health and Human Services spokesman Tony Jewell told NewsMax.com on Wednesday.
Reporters attending a briefing on President Bush's HHS budget had a decidely different impression.
For example, under the headline "Patient Privacy Rules Further Delayed," a Reuters report said Monday that "Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said the department would not be able to meet the April 14 deadline it had set for the privacy rules ... ."
But Jewell claims the reporters misinterpreted the secretary, who, according to the HHS spokesman, merely said he
More than 27,000 NewsMax.com readers petitioned HHS to reject or signficantly alter the 1,500-page document,
Jewell acknowledged that the secretary had received a lot of correspondence on this issue, more than 24,000 written comments, not including the thousands of petition signers included within those communications.
Only last week, the department was reporting simply "over 5,000" comments just before last Friday's deadline for the comment period.
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