Pro-Privacy View Excluded from Today's e-Health Privacy Discussion at MN Health Department

St. Paul -- This afternoon, the Minnesota e-Health Initiative Advisory Committee will meet to hear presentations on privacy and security issues surrounding health information technology, and the development of a statewide health information system. A committee discussion will follow. No pro-privacy groups or privacy advocates will be presenting.

Presenters are David Orren, a state health department employee who has previously argued in support of government access to private medical records without patient consent, and Rochelle Wooley. Ms. Wooley's affiliation is not mentioned on the agenda, however a Rochelle Wooley is listed in a 2004 news article as Communications Director of RxHub, an alliance of pharmacy benefit managers in support of data-sharing initiatives.

The Committee is co-chaired by the CEO of HealthPartners and the director of Olmstead County Public Health Services. It is staffed by the Minnesota Department of Health.


Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care, offers the following statement in response to the committee's failure to include presentations by privacy advocates and citizen groups active in medical privacy issues:

"By not hearing from medical privacy advocates today, the e-Health Committee has chosen to look at patient privacy from a very narrow viewpoint-the view of those who view patient privacy as an obstacle.

"Survey after survey points out the importance of medical privacy to the American public. Patients want personal control over who gets their data, and for what purpose.

"At this point, it is doubtful that the committee's report to the legislature will be anything but a rubber stamp of the usual anti-privacy position of health industry and government."

Details for Today's Committee Meeting:
January 26, 2006
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Mississippi Room, MDH Snelling Office Park Building
1645 Energy Park Drive at Snelling
St. Paul, Minnesota

Media Contact:

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