GOVERNOR VENTURA'S "NO VETO" OF HEALTH DATA RULE PLACES PRESSURE ON MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE

St. Paul, Minnesota -- Governor Ventura's refusal to stop Minnesota's collection of health data without patient consent has not fazed the Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

"Governor Ventura's decision not to veto the data collection rule places the decision-making authority exactly where it should be - in the lap of the 2003 legislature," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Although the organization had discussed Governor Ventura's veto authority in a meeting with the Governor's staff, CCHC recognized early on that a veto could create a problem for its ongoing efforts.

"Many legislators and members of the public may have concluded erroneously that the threat to their medical privacy and personal autonomy had been averted," says Brase. "They may have considered the issue dead--and it is far from dead."

"Minnesota law requires the department to collect the data, with or without a rule. But for the first time in ten years the public knows about it," says Brase.

"Now Minnesota legislators, the people who are elected to represent the citizens of Minnesota, understand that it's up to them to address the public's concerns for the long term," Brase adds.

A 1993 health care cost containment and redesign law allowed the state health department to write the rule. The law specifically states that patient consent is not necessary for data disclosure and collection. After working for nearly 10 years to devise a uniform data collection system, the department released a proposed rule in August 2002 to implement the law. The rule required most insurers and hospitals to collect detailed patient information starting January 2003 with the first annual transmission to the Minnesota Department of Health by July 2004. An email campaign by CCHC forced the department to hold a hearing on the rule on October 4, 2002. On December 2, the administrative law judge ruled in support of the department. Governor Ventura had until December 26 to veto the rule. Since he did not veto the rule, it can be implemented as early as January 6, 2003.

CCHC REPORT

CCHC compiled the public's nearly 1,100 comments on the proposed health data collection rule, releasing a 28-page report on the public's response in November. A majority - 94 percent - opposed the rule. Of the 6 percent not expressing specific opposition to the collection, many other concerns were expressed.

The CCHC report -- which has been sent to all legislators in preparation for the 2003 legislative session -- can be found here.


Media Contact:

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