CCHC'S EFFORT FORCES MINNESOTA'S HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO HOLD A HEARING ON PROPOSED HEALTH DATA COLLECTION RULE

(St. Paul, Minnesota) -- The Minnesota Department of Health has just informed Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) that enough letters requesting a hearing on the proposed health data collection rule have been received to require that a hearing be held before an administrative law judge

The proposed rule, "Proposed Permanent Rules Relating to Administrative Billing Data, Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4653," would require Minnesota hospitals, insurers, and health plans to electronically transmit the private individually-identifiable health data of most Minnesota residents to the health department.

"We're pleased that the response to our action alert was so quick. But the job's only half way done. Now we need a deluge of letters from individuals and organizations expressing opposition to the rule and their myriad concerns. That's what the judge will use to make his final decision," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC, a Minnesota-based health care policy organization.

The day after the proposed rule was published in the State Register, CCHC emailed an action alert around the state, notifying the media of the proposed rule and encouraging citizens and organizations to request that a hearing be held.

Judge Allen W. Klein will hold the hearing on Friday, October 4, 2002 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing until all persons wishing to speak have been allowed to speak. All public comments received by the health department will also be given to the judge for his consideration. In addition, citizens and organizations can send comments and concerns directly to the judge until October 11, 2002.

SEND COMMENTS

Comments from the public are being taken both by the department and by the judge.

DEPARTMENT (until September 18, 4:30 p.m.):
Tracy Johnson, Minnesota Department of Health, 121 East Seventh Place,
Suite 400, St. Paul, MN 55101.
Email: Tracy.L.Johnson@health.state.mn.us
(Phone: 651-282-5650, Fax: 651-282-5628).

JUDGE KLEIN (until October 11, 2002): Judge Allan W. Klein,
Office of Administrative Hearings, 100 Washington Square,
Suite 1700,Minneapolis, MN 55401-2138
(FAX 612-349-2665, Phone: 612-341-7609)

The proposed rule is the result of a health data reporting law that was buried in the 174-page MinnesotaCare health care reform bill of 1993. It has taken health officials since 1994 to figure out how to collect the health data in a uniform manner. After holding several public meetings on the proposed rule last fall and this spring - attended primarily by health officials and insurance representatives - health officials are ready to collect health and other data from most of the state's health insurers and hospitals.

"The medical records of Minnesota residents should not become state property," says Brase. "This is a constitutional issue. Citizens should not be forced to enter government surveillance when they need medical care."

The proposed rule: http://www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/stateregister/278.pdf

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)
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