Bills Introduced to Bypass MN Privacy and Consent Laws

MN Legislators Introduce Bills to Bypass Consent Requirements:

We need you to contact your legislators and members of a House committee ASAP!

On Monday, March 6th, Representative Nick Zerwas (R - Elk River) introduced HF 3312 and Senator Eric Pratt (R - Prior Lake) introduced SF 2975. These identical companion bills provide an exception to the patient consent requirements found in the Minnesota Health Records Act (MHRA). This exception downgrades Minnesota's consent requirements to the level of the federal "No Privacy" HIPAA rule. The bills, if passed, would circumvent Minnesota's strongest-in-the-nation privacy law and render it useless.

The MHRA is focused on privacy and consent while the federal HIPAA rule is focused on disclosure - the difference being that the Minnesota law centers on the patient while the federal rule centers on the industry. The original HIPAA rule actually required patient consent for things like payment, treatment and health care operations (approximately 400-word definition.)

But big business and the health care and big data industry don't want to ask for your permission to share, store, and use your information. Almost two decades ago, they lobbied the feds to remove these privacy provisions so now we are only protected by Minnesota's consent laws. Now big business and the industry is attempting to bypass your privacy rights at the state level and we need your help!

Supporters of these bills are arguing that Minnesota needs to conform to the "HIPAA standard." What does the "HIPAA standard" mean? According to the National Governors Association:

"A "no-consent" HIO [Health Information Organization] model abides by the HIPAA standard and automatically shares or stores patient information without obtaining patient consent for participation."

In other words, the "HIPAA standards" means storing and sharing your private health information without your consent. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) acknowledged in a 2017 proposal that getting rid of Minnesota's consent and privacy rights: "removes certain privacy protections for MN patients, especially related to sensitive information such as mental health, HIV/STD, and genetic information."

In addition, MDH wrote: "This approach may raise privacy concerns because of the broad scope of health care operation."

Big business and the health care and big data industry are saying the Minnesota's laws are raising the costs of medical care - but that's not true! A 2017 MDH report showed the cost of adhering to MN's strong privacy and consent requirements averaged to just 83-cents per patient, or 0.16% of the total operating budget.

(For more information about this issue, see our previous alert)

We need your help to protect Minnesota's privacy and consent rights! Are you willing to come testify against HF 3312 or call members of the committee urging them to oppose the bill?

A hearing has already been scheduled for HF 3312 in its first House committee this Thursday, March 8th.

House Health and Human Services Reform Committee
Thursday, March 8th, 2018
8:15 am
200 State Office Building

Click here for a link to see the Committee membership and contact information.

WE NEED YOU to contact the members of this committee asking them to vote no on HF 3312! 

If you would like to come provide testimony on Thursday, or submit testimony to the committee, please contact the Committee Legislative Assistant Khayree Duckett at 651-296-5999 or at

You can also contact our office to discuss providing written or oral testimony to the committee - 651-646-8935 or