CCHC Provides Online Comparison of Patient Safety Bills in Congress

Says Plan to Build National Health Data System Not Known by Public

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - Although the title is patient safety, the subtitle should be 'building a national health data system', says the Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

To show how the patient safety bills promote such a system, CCHC has placed online a comparison of the sections of the two bills (H 663 and S 720) that promote building of a national health data system. The comparison was done before S 720 was amended significantly yesterday in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The comparison can be found at: /pr/pr072303.php

"The patient safety bills clearly establish a plan to build a national health data system,'" says Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care.

H 663 was passed by the House on March 12, 2003 and S 720 was amended yesterday from a 16-page bill to a 40-something page bill. CCHC has not yet obtained a copy of the amended bill.

CCHC's July 22 press release shared the following concerns about H 663:

* No patient consent for data sharing with patient safety organizations.
* Discrimination for not sharing data not prohibited (see CORRECTED press release online).
* National Patient Safety Database created.
* Comprehensive health data systems to be built.
* Taxpayer funding to promote growth of electronic health data systems.

"While the nation is focused on Medicare, Congress is moving to use patient safety and medical errors as the rationale for building a national health data system," says Brase.

"The public is completely unaware of this proposal, but it will likely impact every health care decision patients and doctors make. It raises huge privacy concerns. Shouldn't there be a very public discussion before such a bill becomes law?" asks Brase.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President and Co-founder
Office: 651-646-8935