David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

You should. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee passed a bill that will create a giant database of everyone’s health records. Can you imagine the consequences of someone hacking into this system? It would make the VA fiasco caused by a stolen laptop look puny in comparison. Then there is questions about what the government might do with the information, beyond research. ClinkShrink has an interesting comment:

ClinkShrink said… Will people be able to opt out of this national health information system? And what happens when law enforcement decides to subpoena aggregate data to investigate patterns of national drug abuse? Or infectious diseases? Or physician’s prescribing of controlled substances? The last thing I would worry about is some outside person hacking into the system or losing my personal information. I’d be much more worried about how the government will use the information it legitimately has access to. Here is an excerpt from Shrink Rap’s post:

The bill [HR 4157, “to encourage the dissemination, security, confidentiality, and usefulness of health information.”] approved by the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee explicitly protects the current HIPAA “non-preemption” language that ensures that stronger state privacy laws will remain in force. While this is an important acknowledgment, additional work is needed to protect patient medical records, as evidenced by recent revelations of data and record loss in the VA system and DOD, among others. During Subcommittee debate, Democrats proposed an amendment that sought to strengthen the enforcement of existing privacy protections and require a privacy breach notification. The amendment failed by a vote of 10 to 12.

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