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Under HIPAA (the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), medical records are supposed to
be kept private and any patient information that is shared is supposed to be
stripped of key identifying information (this is known as the Safe Harbor
rule). However, HIPAA has a big loophole: state public health agencies are
exempt from Safe Harbor rules when they sell private medical records as part of
a health database. When this medical data is cross-referenced with other public
information (such as news reports and other databases), it can reveal a
Private medical records are
being sold to pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, and even
major websites like WebMD. This will make more people reluctant to seek medical
care: patients rely on doctor-patient confidentiality, and that sacred trust is
meaningless if their information is sold to the highest bidder.
Ask your legislators to amend HIPAA to allow patients to opt
out—to keep their medical information from being sold or shared with any entity
that is not currently giving the patient medical treatment.
Please personalize and add your own comments if you have time!
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]