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Phone: (800) 635-1196
Hotline: (800) 419-4777
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

MEDICAL PRIVACY RULE REVISIONS WON'T HINDER AAPS LAWSUIT

Dear AAPS Friends & Members:

You've probably seen some stories about the new revisions to the HIPAA privacy regulations announced last week by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and are wondering what effect this development will have on the lawsuit filed by AAPS to challenge the regulations.

In a word -- NONE!.

AAPS is as committed as ever to overturning these unconstitutional regulations that are only masquerading as "medical privacy protection. In fact, they give government agencies, law enforcement, marketers and who knows how many others, access to medical records.

As we said in the front page story on NewsMax.com today - these revisions are just another 186 pages of mud.

We'd like to explain to you exactly what the revisions accomplish. But so far, we can't figure it out. Maybe that tells you something about the revisions! In the meantime, we've posted some analysis and a link to a copy of the rules and the HHS statement.

PLEASE DON'T LET THEM OUTSPEND US INTO DEFEAT!

It's obvious the Administration is digging in for this fight, but we can assure you, so are we! We've already seen some stalling tactics from the Department of Justice - I guess they figure that we'll run out of money and give up. You'd think they know AAPS better than that by now.

But a long legal fight must be fuelled by money -- and AAPS -- unlike other unnamed big medical groups -- runs on member dues and donations

One grassroots group has budgeted $50,000 to fight just a single provision of these terrible regulations. But we think we can do even better -- we can get them overturned.

Please don't stand on the sidelines and assume that someone else will come through. This is a watershed battle that must be won. Doctors tell us it's the proverbial straw that's going to break their backs -- that they'll quit practicing medicine before they succumb to these regulations that compromise their patients' trust and freedoms.

Click here to find out how to donate to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION to the AAPS legal fund.

Read on for some background information on the lawsuit and the privacy regulations. There are more links at the bottom of the page.

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KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

Help Kill Leftover Clinton Health Care Rules

(Jan. 30, 2002) -- Join Rep. Ron E. Paul (R-TX) and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) in our lawsuit to overturn new federal medical privacy regulations slipped in by President Clinton as he left office.

"Far from protecting privacy, these rules give government officials and certain private interests a new federal right to access medical records without consent," said Rep. Paul, who is also a physician. "AAPS deserves the gratitude of every American for fighting to stop these regulations and I am pleased to support their efforts."

We've tried everything else. We've appealed to Congress, we've testified at HHS, we've generated tens of thousands of public comments and frozen up the HHS e-mail server with public response.

None of it has done any good. We had nothing left to do short of leaving our patients to the mercy of government spies or resorting to civil disobedience by refusing to violate our ethical code and our patients privacy, or file a lawsuit. We choose to work through the courts.

Patients are withholding information, and doctors are lying because of privacy concerns. These rules will only make things worse to the point of distorted, incomplete and potentially dangerous medical records becoming the norm. Physicians' ethics will be further challenged if they're forced to choose government compliance or lying for a patient. It's a Hobson's choice -- practice the government way or quit. We decided we had to fight for our patients.

WHY THESE RULES MUST BE SCRAPPED!

Masquerading as "medical privacy protection," these rules were written to fulfill the "Administrative Simplification" section of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. "Administrative simplification" is a concept and term carried over from Hillary's Health Care Task Force and the failed ClintonCare plan for government control of medicine and medical records.

Groundwork for HillaryCare

This 1,500 page document is a direct result of the Clinton view that the government should control every aspect of our medical care. It is a desperate, last-ditch effort to set the stage for Hillary's vision of socialized medicine and eliminate your privacy.

The most "heavy-handed" aspect of the new federal rules is the unprecedented government access to everyone's private medical records. While masquerading as patient protection, the rules would actually eliminate any last shred of patient confidentiality.

Unrestricted Access by Law Enforcement & Other Govt Agencies

When it comes to government prying, these rules obliterate any remote notion of patients' rights. Doctors are required to disclose all patients records to thousands of federal bureaucrats -- with or without consent. That includes handwritten notes and psychiatric records.

Law enforcement agencies will have unrestricted access to all records -- including notes about drug use, family interactions and other confessions.

But it gets worse. Not only can doctors be fined for withholding records, but the feds can order doctors to refuse treatment to patients who won't consent to government disclosure.

No Protection from Government Abuse

If patients expect the government to protect them from marketing efforts, they're in a for a rude surprise. It was government employees who sold patients medical records from government databases to HMO recruiters in Maryland a few years ago.

Doctors Overwhelmingly Oppose the Regulations

A whopping 96% of doctors say that the proposed rules will further compromise patient privacy, according to a national survey of physicians conducted by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. While some of the rule's specifics could be ironed out down the road, no amount of fine-tuning can fix a flawed approach. Only a fresh start will head off irreparable damage to patients and their trust in the system. These rules must be scrapped.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Last time we successfully took on the government (AAPS v. Hillary Clinton) it cost us more than $500,000. Much of that litigation was funded by donations of less than $100.

The government is already trying every legal delay and stonewall tactic it can. Last month they even filed a Motion to throw out the case claiming that AAPS had no "standing" to bring the lawsuit. Think of it -- they say that doctors and patients have no right to complain about these unconstitutional rules.

Your Donation Goes Directly to Litigation, Not Administration
AAPS isn't like other medical organizations that rake in big bucks from pharmaceutical companies or cushy government contracts like the AMA -- that pays officers six-figure salaries. In fact, the AAPS office is staffed by two volunteer senior citizens, Anne and Helen, who we call the "Grassroots Grannies."


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