MN House Author Drops Attempt to Repeal MN Health Data Collection Law

St. Paul, Minnesota - This morning in the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, Rep. Bill Haas (R-Champlin) dropped his attempt to repeal the health department's authority to collect private medical records without patient consent.

Rep. Haas said he will work over the summer with state officials to fashion a new piece of legislation for the 2004 session.

"While we are pleased that our efforts have stalled the health department's data collection plan, it appears the public must wait at least another year to secure the right to keep the government out of their medical records," said Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care.

Brase notes that millions of medical records from 1995 - 2000 have already been collected by the health department, according to data CCHC received from the Minnesota Department of Health:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota: 79,498,940 records
Medica (health plan): 41,550,866 records
Hospital Records (Inpatient): 2,823,635 records
Hospital Records (Outpatient): 6,718,778 records

TOTAL RECORDS: 130,592,219

Brase says the medical records sitting in the health department do not include the name, address and social security number of individuals. However, the date of birth, medical record number, gender, zip code and other information specific to diagnosis and treatment are part of the record.

"Using authority granted by state law, the health department has received millions of personally-identifiable medical records without patient consent. Lack of names, addresses and social security numbers should not assure the public that their medical privacy has been protected," said Brase.

"The right of the public to a private life was dismissed ten years ago by the Minnesota legislature. We are deeply disappointed that the public's new knowledge and outrage over this violation of privacy rights have not yet translated into law protecting patients from the peering eyes of state government." said Brase.  

Media Contact:

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