Tags: How | Protect | Your | Medical | Privacy

How to Protect Your Medical Privacy

Monday, 21 January 2002 12:00 AM

Well over half of the American people believe their private records, especially those containing medical information, are widely shared by many who have no business having access to them.

A Gallup survey last year showed 61 percent of Americans are concerned that their personal records might be available to others without their consent. That concern is believed to be even stronger today, considering the wake-up calls we have had on privacy issues since then.

Last fall, BusinessWeek magazine reported the biggest privacy worry among Americans is the fear that employers (current or prospective) may learn of an embarrassing or expensive medical condition.

Robert Gellman, a privacy consultant in Washington, told the magazine that sometimes "all an employer has to do is ask the insurer – who it pays – which employees are responsible for the leap in prescription drug use."

The BusinessWeek article says that "a new privacy rule will make it illegal for health providers and insurers to improperly release patients' medical details without their consent." Health providers and insurers have until April 2003 to comply. Small insurance plans have until April 2004.

But NewsMax.com last year conducted its own page-by-page, line-by-line study of the new privacy rule and found it convoluted and sadly deficient. Much of that deficiency is shielded by gobbledygook.

In fact, under the new "privacy" regulations promulgated by Bill Clinton just weeks before he left the White House, medical providers will be forced to "digitize" – or place on computer files – every citizen's medical records.

And organizations like the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) are crying foul. They say enough loopholes exist that will give government bureaucrats, with just a few computer keystrokes, access to all of your medical records.

Also, as BusinessWeek acknowledges, the new rule does nothing to protect information gathered by life or disability insurance companies and nothing to curb marketing companies that already have your personal data or can get it from unprotected sources.

Bluntly stated, under the new "privacy" rules a person's medical conditions can be shared by physicians, HMOs and other health organizations with marketing firms that may want to contact you to sell products related to your condition.

Beth Givens, director of the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearing House, says you can protect much of your privacy. She and other consumerists suggest the following precautions:

Bottom line is you can’t be too careful in protecting your privacy. Once the medical information is out, you can’t get it back.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
Well over half of the American people believe their private records, especially those containing medical information, are widely shared by many who have no business having access to them. A Gallup survey last year showed 61 percent of Americans are concerned that their...
How,Protect,Your,Medical,Privacy
413
2002-00-21
Monday, 21 January 2002 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved