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

LEFTOVER CLINTON PRIVACY REGULATIONS POSTPONED, BUT MORE ACTION NEEDED BY MARCH 30!!

AAPS has helped to postpone the Clinton administration’s leftover medical “privacy” regulations, originally scheduled to be implemented on Feb. 26, that would give the federal government unprecedented access to our personal medical records.

Thanks to your responses, we created such a groundswell of opposition that actually shut down the email server at the Department of Health and Human Services.

BUT WE HAVEN’T WON THE WAR YET!

HHS Secretary Thompson has extended the public comment period through March 30, 2001, and will decide by April 14 whether the rules will go into effect. We must show how much the public opposes these rules.

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.

This 1,500 page document is a direct result of the Clinton view that the government should control every aspect of our medical care. Touted as protecting patient privacy, it would actually compromise our privacy. Further, the regulations are so confusing that no one knows what are the ultimate results, and the final decisions would be handed off to the Office of Civil Rights. So whatever the lawyers in that office decree as your right to medical privacy would be the final word. Privacy would be out of your control and at serious risk.

  • The rules create a massive federal mandate that requires every doctors to share patients’ records with the federal government, without patient consent -- whether you pay for services yourself or not. That includes handwritten notes and psychiatric records.
  • Patients have no recourse for breaches of medical privacy other than the right to complain. If a judgment is entered against a violator, the government, not the patient, is paid the fine.
  • The regulations may prevent doctors from informing parents of the specifics of their child’s medical condition
  • Patients may be refused medical treatment if they won’t give consent to health care providers to divulge their medical records to any parties. Doctors can be fined for refusing to provide records.
  • Every person will be assigned a “unique patient identifier” to track medical history from birth to death that could be incorporated into a national ID card along with genetic information.
  • Law enforcement agencies will have unrestricted access to all records -- including notes about drug use, family situation and activities.

YOUR STEPS FOR ACTION:

1. Send your comments to HHS BY MAIL by 5 p.m. March 30. (Include a floppy disk if possible)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: Privacy I
Room 801
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

HHS is not accepting comments by phone or fax!

2. The Liberty Study Committee (and other organizations) have posted a form letter and created a user-friendly Web site for individuals to submit their comments. If you agree with the form letter, this is an easy way to submit your comments.
See www.thelibertycommittee.org/medprivacypetition.htm

3. HHS will accept comments at:
http://erm.hhs.gov/hipaa/erm_rule.rule?user_id=&rule_id=292

4. Copy your letter to your Members of Congress.

5. Sign up for future alerts and actions updates from AAPS.

TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR LETTER:

  • A brief letter is better than none. They will count the number of responses, so we do need volume.
  • Send by priority and/or certified mail, or overnight letter.
  • Include: full name, address and telephone number of the sender or a knowledgeable point of contact.
  • State that your comments concerning the final federal medical privacy rule (Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information), Sections 164.502 and 164.506.
  • Please note your strenuous objection to access by the government or any third party to your medical file or information without your written consent.

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