1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
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

June 20, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Feds Trying to Kill Medical Privacy

Washington, D.C. -- Even though Congress has passed a bill to prohibit the federal government from imposing a "health identifier number" on the American people, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is actively looking for other ways to force all Americans to carry national medical ID cards and submit their records to a national medical database.

"This is big government ‘Big Brother’ at its worst in the examining room," said Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). "A rogue agency is out to usurp the will of Congress and compromise every patient’s privacy."

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) amendment to an appropriations bill that would forbid the imposition of a "uniform patient identifier" (UPI) --the first step to putting all of our medical records in a national database that would be accessed by any government bureaucrat or anyone else who gets your personal number.

But at a recent meeting of the government committee charged with setting national medical privacy policy, a group of non-elected, political appointees voted to use taxpayer dollars to find other ways to force doctors to submit all private patient medical records into a national database.

"Once again, the federal government says ‘it knows best’ and has decided to create a national database of patient medical records, and identify all the records, even though the public is against it and the funds for the UPI have been cut off by Congress," said Dr. Orient.

As a physician with more than 30 years experience in private practice, I know better than most the importance of preserving the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship," said Dr. Paul, a long-time member of AAPS. "Unless Congress forbids the development of a medical ID, Americans may not be able to talk to their doctors about matters such as depression, impotence, or sexually transmitted diseases without fear of having this information accessed by government agencies."

"What happens to the sacred trust between patients and physicians when any and all information given to their doctor will be placed in a government database?" asked Dr. Orient. "We need to keep the government out of the examining room."

AAPS is a national organization of physicians, in all specialties, dedicated to the protection of the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship from third-party intrusion since 1943.

####