THREAT TO PATIENT PRIVACY:

The Minnesota Health Information Exchange

Minneapolis/Saint Paul - The Minnesota Health Information Exchange announced today by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is a serious threat to patient privacy, and patient control over medical treatment decisions, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

Twila Brase, president of CCHC, provides the following reaction to today's announcement:

Government Access
"State government will soon have a wide open door to everyone's medical record. A 1993 law gives the Minnesota Department of Health full access to medical records.

"Although public outrage forced the Minnesota Department of Health to withdraw their proposed data collection rule in 2003, the law was never repealed. The law specifically says no patient consent is required.

"The 2007 legislature gave the health department $2 million this year to update the interconnectivity of their computer systems, allowing them to connect with health plans and electronically tap into everyone's medical record.

"Once patients understand that government can access their entire medical record, they will be less likely to seek medical care, or to fully disclose all the details necessary to receive the right care."

Intrusive Command and Control
"Governor Pawlenty says the exchange will be used for "paying providers for good outcomes and the adoption of evidence based guidelines.' Such intrusive monitoring of patients and control of physician's medical decisions for the purpose of cost containment will likely lead to health care rationing, dismissal of difficult-to-treat patients, and loss of public trust in the health care system."

 

Legislature Not Told
"The Information Exchange was never cleared by the Legislature. It was never even discussed. The actual plan for the controversial Record Locator Service legislation was kept well under wraps.

"Today's announcement proves our testimony last legislative session was accurate. The Record Locator Service bill, which was put into law without a full hearing by the Senate, will be the key to opening everyone's medical record. The online RLS is expected to have the names, unique identifying information of patients, and location of all medical records related to each patient.

"While the details are not yet known, we suspect that true consent will not be part of the Exchange. Our attempts last session to require informed and written patient consent separate from the treatment or coverage consent were repeatedly rebuffed by proponents.

Without true consent, patients have no control."

Media Contact:

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