More Patients Refuse to Sign Release of
Medical Information Forms

Saint Paul, Minnesota--Three years after implementation of the federal HIPAA privacy rule, the public remains very concerned about the privacy of medical record information, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).
 
In a recent survey by the American Health Information Management Association, 22 percent of respondents reported more patients refusing to sign release of information forms, and 30 percent say patients are asking more questions about privacy.
 
"The so-called HIPAA privacy rule has done nothing to quell the privacy concerns of patients. In fact, it's had the opposite effect," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.
 
"The HIPAA rule is a data disclosure rule. HIPAA lets scores of outsiders access patient medical records without the knowledge or say-so of patients, she explains. "Patients realize they must do all they can to protect their own privacy, because HIPAA won't protect them."
 
More Disturbing Facts Revealed
Other disturbing facts revealed by the report include:
 
* a drop in compliance with privacy regulations
* loss of senior management support for privacy regulations
* lack of resources to support compliance with privacy rule requirements
* 9% of respondents do not even know if they have a privacy officer
* 43% are outsourcing health information management, most frequently transcription
* less time to monitor/manage outside contracts requiring adherence to privacy rule
 
Eliminate Accounting of Disclosures?
CCHC is also troubled by the report's recommendation that the federal Rule be changed to eliminate the requirement that patients be given an accounting of disclosures for data disclosures required by other laws.
 
"There's a big difference between knowing your data could be released and finding out it actually was released. The public must retain the right to know who has their private data and for what purpose it was disclosed," argues Brase.
 
No Security in Privacy
"One sweeping law, one contentious rule, and ten long years later, patients feel more insecure about the privacy of their medical data than ever before," she says.
 
"Unless and until those who have medical data act in a manner that acknowledges that they are only keepers of the data, not owners, the public will increasingly refuse to share their medical information. It's the only tool of resistance the patient has left," explains Brase.
 
 

Media Contact:

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