Next Week:

MN Health Plans Begin Sending Private Medical Records to State's Data Warehouse in Maine

State of Minnesota will Use Data to Intrude on Patient-Doctor Relationship

(Minneapolis, June 25, 2009) - Next week, private medical records will become part of the public record in Minnesota. On July 1, Minnesota health plans must begin transferring private patient medical records data to the Maine Health Information Center for digital access and ongoing analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health.

"Patients will have no choice. Every time they go to their doctor, or are admitted to the hospital, or get a prescription, their data will be shared with the State of Minnesota. By law, state health officials will be able to access and analyze their medical information, make outside judgments about their care, and potentially penalize their doctors, all without their consent," says Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care.

"Despite the written objections of hundreds of people who sent letters to the Minnesota Department of Health, and the stated objections of the crowd at the one and only Department meeting for the public, the State of Minnesota will soon claim ownership to the private data of Minnesota patients. Health officials will then be allowed to use patient data to penalize physicians who provide care outside the government's preferred treatment protocols," she adds.

No Public Hearing Permitted
The 2008 state legislature authorized the transfer, analysis and use of private patient data in a health care reform bill negotiated behind closed doors in the Governor's office during the final days of the 2008 session. The right of citizens to protest was limited by a provision in the bill requiring expedited rulemaking. This provision prohibited the public from requiring the Department to hold a public hearing before an administrative law judge on the proposed rule issued by the health department on March 23, 2009 regarding government collection and use of private medical information.

The MDH rule, initially disapproved by the judge because the Department attempted to authorize the expansion of data collection beyond the limits of the law, was amended by MDH and approved on June 17, 2009, allowing the transfer of patient data to begin on July 1, 2009. The taxpayer cost of State contracts for data warehousing and analysis exceeds $4 million.

Public Defeated First Attempt
In 2002, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) attempted to gain similar regulatory access to private patient data, but after the public protested in writing, the required public hearing before an administrative law judge brought statewide media attention to the issue. After several well-publicized legislative hearings on the rule's impact on privacy and patient care, the proposed 2002 rule to require hospitals and health plans to send computerized patient data to MDH was withdrawn in 2003.

"This time, the state health department made sure the public would not be allowed a public hearing on the proposed rule. Private patient data will soon become publicly owned data allowing government interference in medical decisions. This is an extraordinary intrusion into the patient-doctor relationship and a complete violation of patient and citizen rights,"says Brase.

Twila Brase, President
651-646-8935 office

- CCHC -


Citizens' Council on Health Care supports freedom for patients and doctors, medical
innovation, and the right to a confidential patient-doctor relationship.


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Citizens' Council on Health Care is a non-profit, independent health care policy organization that supports free-market ideas in health care.

Citizens' Council on Health Care
1954 University Avenue West, Suite 8, St. Paul, MN 55104
Phone: 651.646.8935 / Fax: 651.646.0100, e-mail


Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President and Co-founder
Office: 651-646-8935