The Privacy of Medical Records

California wants to listen in at your next doctor's appointment.  There is a new bill making its way through the California Legislature that could punish doctors for straying from "the contemporary scientific consensus" for COVID-19:  California's AB 2098 would discipline physicians for disseminating or promoting "misinformation" or "disinformation" as it relates to COVID-19.  Aside from the problem that the "consensus" on COVID-19 is constantly changing, the bill's language is ambiguous and, as some California lawyers say, almost certainly infringes upon physicians' First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Resist the Unique Patient Identifier!.  When I began fighting the unique patient ID in the 1990s, my opponents denied that medical identifiers would make it impossible to ensure confidentiality of medical records.  Now, they are saying we should support medical identifiers because they allow government officials, employers, schools, airlines, and even stores and restaurants to discover what, if any, vaccinations or other medical treatments we have or have not received.  The result of the identifier will be a medical caste system, where those who refuse to follow the mandates or advice of the "experts" are denied opportunities to work, receive an education, or even go to church or enjoy a night out on the town.  A unique patient identifier will weaken health care by making individuals reluctant to share personal information — such as drug and alcohol use and past sexual history — with health care providers.  It will also discourage sick individuals from seeking medical care for fear their physicians will discover they are unvaccinated, smoke, are overweight, or engage in other unapproved behaviors.  A unique medical ID could also be tied to government records of gun purchases.  Someone with "too many" guns could be labeled a potential mental health risk and harassed by law enforcement.  This is especially likely if the gun grabbers are successful in their push to enact "red flag" laws in every state.

Your health privacy:  What government giveth, it can taketh away.  Suddenly, your health is everybody's business.  If you have the misfortune of living in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, where you can no longer enter a restaurant, museum, or concert hall without proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, you may find yourself having intimate discussions about your health with strangers.  A restaurant owner in New York City recently expressed to me his discomfort stemming from the city's new measures.  Unvaccinated customers have been inundating him with personal health details about reasons for noncompliance — such as undergoing treatment for cancer or concern of the vaccine's potential interactions with other health conditions — just to be let through the restaurant door.  Unfortunately, the owner's empathy for his customers' circumstances landed him in trouble with New York City's health department, which threatened to revoke his liquor license should he continue to treat his customers with basic human decency.

I Just Got a COVID-19 Test.  Who Now Knows I Got It?  Anytime a person gets tested for COVID-19, it creates a data point public health officials can use to track the spread and prevalence of the virus — but it also creates a financial opportunity for a private company administering the test.  There is a multibillion-dollar market for health data in the United States, and those same companies that are now scaling up coronavirus testing, like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, have been making money from patients' medical data for years.  When a patient gets tested at a private lab, that lab often removes the patient's name, then feeds the test information to third parties like pharmaceutical companies, advertisers, researchers, and other companies with an interest in analyzing large quantities of health data.

What happened to the HIPAA laws?
Judge Forces McHenry County, Illinois Health Dept. to Provide Names of All COVID-19 Patients to Police.  The McHenry County, Illinois, Health Department (MCHD) had refused to provide the names of all coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to police — but, on Friday [4/10/2020], Judge Michael Chmiel ruled the MCHD must do so.  The McHenry County state's attorney's office had sued MCHD to force it to begin supplying patients' names to local law enforcement, prompting the judge's ruling, The Chicago Tribune reports: [...]

Google's invasion into health records [is] more proof that Silicon Valley rules the world.  In Big Tech's latest usurpation of personal privacy, Google admitted this week that they've been secretly vacuuming up the detailed health records of at least 50 million Americans in 21 states.  This was not a voluntary confession.  It wasn't until Monday [11/11/2019], after the Wall Street Journal broke the story, that Google issued a typically infuriating statement.  "We understand that people want to ask questions," it read in part.  How benevolent.  The Orwellian translation:  We who rule Silicon Valley are exercising control over everyone, everywhere, in ways you don't know, wouldn't understand and can't do anything about — and who's going to stop us?

Google is working on a top secret project with access to millions of Americans' health data including lab tests and diagnoses.  Google has been working on a top secret project with a leading healthcare company to gather millions of Americans' health data without them knowing it.  The Wall Street Journal first reported on Monday that the company has teamed up with Ascension, the second largest healthcare services company in the country, for a project that was being code-named Nightingale.  Within hours of the Journal's report, the two companies announced the collaboration in a press release where they revealed that Ascension's data will move onto Google's Cloud platform.

A Maine hospital's 'Wall of Shame' used private records to mock disabled patients.  MyKayla McCann was shocked by what she discovered at her first day of work.  Using confidential medical records, her new co-workers at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, had created an ersatz collage that was hidden on the inside of a cabinet door and labeled it the "Wall of Shame."  The records belonged to the hospital's physically and mentally disabled patients, and described their "sexual activity, genital dysfunction, bowel movements, bodily odors and other personal maladies," according to a 2018 report from Maine's Human Rights Commission, which labeled the collage "objectively offensive."  The alarming discovery was the start of a years-long saga that would ultimately lead the commission to determine that McCann was subjected to a hostile work environment, where hospital staffers violated patient privacy laws to look up her medical records, and discriminated against her because of her own disability.

UChicago, Google SUED in 'greatest heist' of patient health data 'in history'.  A former University of Chicago medical patient filed a class-action lawsuit against the University of Chicago and Google, claiming that the University of Chicago Medical Center is giving private patient information to the tech giant without patients' consent.  About two years ago, the university medical center partnered with Google with the hope of identifying patterns in patient health records to help predict future medical issues.  Now, former patient Matt Dinerstein is filing a lawsuit on behalf of the medical center's patients, alleging that the university violated privacy laws by sharing sensitive health records with Google from 2009 to 2016, aiding Google's goal of creating a digital health record system, according to the Chicago Maroon.

Jussie Smollett's actions may have led to dozens of hospital workers being fired.  Jussie Smollett remains a sore spot for the city of Chicago, following the termination of dozens of Northwestern Memorial Hospital employees who are accused of having gained unauthorized access to the actor's medical records during his treatment at the hospital. [...] According to one nurse who was fired following the incident, she never accessed Smollett's records, but merely scrolled past them as she was searching for another patient.  She believes the whole thing to be a misunderstanding which cost many their jobs.

The Most Insidious Feature Of The Electronic Medical Record.  [Scroll down]  EMRs don't permit what is most important to being the diagnostic detective necessary to identify, fix or manage the problem.  Open-ended questions beget more detail, they spur patient's memory and challenge what they assume is irrelevant since not directly addressed from predetermined box checking lists or arrival paperwork.  The doctor-patient relationship depends on such dynamic discussion to treat disease.  To develop trust and a rapport — essential for a positive chain reaction of events as opposed to the alternative.  To navigate the changing landscape of illness.  The comprehensive healthcare data riddled throughout individual stories that expand the dialogue and exchange cannot be outsourced by an EMR.  The method of data collection via EMR does not enhance retention in any real way by comparison.

Here are 1,366 well sourced examples of Barack Obama's lies, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, waste, etc..  [#284] In September 2013, it was reported that Obamacare requires doctors to ask patients personal questions about their sex lives, and to put their answers into an electronic database.  Doctors who avoid doing this will be penalized.  Dr. Adam Budzikowski, a New York cardiologist, said these sex question were "insensitive, stupid and very intrusive," and that he could not think of any reason why a cardiologist would need such information.  Dr. Richard Amerling, an associate professor of medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College, said that a patient's medical record should be "a story created by you and your doctor solely for your treatment and benefit," and that Obamacare turns doctor appointments "into an interrogation, and the data will not be confidential."  The New York Civil Liberties Union said that these requirements were a violation of patients' privacy.  The Obama administration said that patients who wished to keep their information out of the electronic database should pay in cash.

Transcription Service Leaked Medical Records.  MEDantex, a Kansas-based company that provides medical transcription services for hospitals, clinics and private physicians, took down its customer Web portal last week after being notified by KrebsOnSecurity that it was leaking sensitive patient medical records — apparently for thousands of physicians.  On Friday [4/13/2018], KrebsOnSecurity learned that the portion of MEDantex's site which was supposed to be a password-protected portal physicians could use to upload audio-recorded notes about their patients was instead completely open to the Internet.  What's more, numerous online tools intended for use by MEDantex employees were exposed to anyone with a Web browser, including pages that allowed visitors to add or delete users, and to search for patient records by physician or patient name.  No authentication was required to access any of these pages.

Facebook now mining patient info from hospitals?  Personal data regarding patient illnesses and prescription information is being pursued by Facebook.  "Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data," reported.  "Facebook was in talks with top hospitals and other medical groups as recently as last month about a proposal to share data about the social networks of their most vulnerable patients."  The medical data-mining project was devised to work in unison with information Facebook had already extracted from its users.

Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data.  Facebook has asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project.  Facebook was intending to match it up with user data it had collected, and help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment.  The proposal never went past the planning phases and has been put on pause after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal raised public concerns over how Facebook and others collect and use detailed information about Facebook users.  "This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone's data," a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.

Report:  Facebook And 'Top-Secret' Doctor Were Working With Hospitals To Collect Patient Information.  Facebook reportedly asked multiple hospitals around the country somewhat recently if they wanted to share patient information in an apparent attempt to help the healthcare institutions with certain processes.  While the initiative, which CNBC first reported, hasn't made it past the initial planning stage, it will likely intensify already clamorous concerns over how the tech giant values people's data privacy.  After all, Facebook allegedly tabled the proposed project when public backlash ensued, stemming from the disclosure it was suspending a data analytics firm for misusing information related to users' traits and online tendencies.  Facebook has "not received, shared, or analyzed anyone's data," the company clarified, according to CNBC.

I Meet my First Obamacare Commissar.  Like most of you, I assumed that all those HIPAA forms they made me sign over the years actually meant what they said they meant.  About medical privacy and such.  So, it came as a surprise to me when I called another doc's office and a lisping Valley Girl who answered the phone demanded to know my private information.  What were her qualifications, I asked?  Didn't I sign that darned HIPAA thing to protect my private medical info?  Valley Girl said nothing about any medical qualification, and she sounded like a fresh new graduate of the local high school or community college.  But she insisted politely that I had no HIPAA protection in my medical phone call.  Then I called her manager, who agreed that I have no HIPAA protections in Obama's Brave New World.  I called my doc, who agreed I have no privacy protections left.  Then I called a medical friend, who tells me she's been complaining about that for six months.  But nobody told you or me.

Quest Diagnostics says 34,000 customer accounts hacked.  Medical laboratory operator Quest Diagnostics Inc. says a hack of an internet application on its network has exposed the personal health information of about 34,000 people.  The Madison, New Jersey-based company says "an unauthorized third party" on Nov. 26 gained access to customer information including names, dates of birth, lab results and in some instances, telephone numbers.  The stolen data did not include Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, insurance details or any other financial information.

Obama DEA Wants Access to Prescription Drug Records Without a Warrant.  Of course they do.  And with the advent of ObamaCare, it's natural the federal government aparatchiks feel they have every right to snoop into our medical records because, well, they're our boss now.

DEA Wants Inside Your Medical Records to Fight the War on Drugs.  Marlon Jones was arrested for taking legal painkillers, prescribed to him by a doctor, after a double knee replacement. [...] "There were three police officers pounding on the door.  They said they had a warrant for my arrest and they were going to take me in," he said.  "It was the middle of the day, on my front doorstep, in front of my wife and daughter.  I'm handcuffed and stuffed into a police car and they haul me to jail."  Jones was hit with 14 felony counts but all of them were later dropped.  Now the Drug Enforcement Administration wants that same kind of power, starting with access to an Oregon database containing the private medical data of more than a million people.

FBI probing after hackers cripple computer systems at major hospital chain.  Hackers crippled computer systems at a major hospital chain, MedStar Health Inc., on Monday [3/28/2016], forcing records systems offline for thousands of patients and doctors.  The FBI said it was investigating whether the unknown hackersdemanded a ransom to restore systems.  A computer virus paralyzed some operations at Washington-area hospitals and doctors' offices, leaving patients unable to book appointments and staff locked out of their email accounts.  Some employees were required to turn off all computers since Monday morning.

Doctors Agree: Obama's Electronic Medical Records Mandate [is Bad].  For the past several years, medical professionals have warned that the federal electronic medical records mandate — buried in the trillion-dollar Obama stimulus of 2009 — would do more harm than good.  Their diagnosis, unfortunately, is on the nose.  The Quack-in-Chief peddled his tech-centric elixir as a cost-saving miracle.  "This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests," he crowed at the time.

DEA blasted for no-warrant searches of patient records, court battle heats up.  Drug Enforcement Administration agents have been accessing personal medical files without a warrant, generating a backlash from doctors and privacy advocates who say the practice is intrusive and unconstitutional — and have taken the agency to court.  "It's just not right," Texas attorney Terri Moore said.  The controversial record searches are part of the government's effort to crack down on illegal "pill mills" and prescription drug abuse.  But they've set up a clash over privacy rights, and a legal battle is now playing out in the 5th and 9th Circuit appeals courts.  Lower courts have issued conflicting rulings to date, with one backing the DEA and another demanding the agency get warrants if it wants to look at patient records.

Med Board lets DEA sneak peeks at patient records.  The Drug Enforcement Administration has been sifting through hundreds of supposedly private medical files, looking for Texas doctors and patients to prosecute without the use of warrants.  Instead, the agents are tricking doctors and nurses into thinking they're with the Texas Medical Board.  When that doesn't work, they're sending doctors subpoenas demanding medical records without court approval.  The DEA can't even count how many times it has resorted to the practice nationwide.  A spokesman estimated it was in the thousands.

Feds Get the Power to Seize Medical Records on 'Fishing Expedition' Investigations with No Subpoena from a Judge.  Administrative subpoenas are issued unilaterally by government agencies — meaning without approval by neutral judges — and without probable cause stated under oath and affirmation as required by the Fourth Amendment.  There are now 336 federal statutes authorizing administrative subpoenas, according to the Department of Justice.  In U.S. v Zadeh, the DEA obtained the records of 35 patient files without showing probable cause or obtaining a warrant issued by a judge.

UCLA Health System reports patient data breach; 4.5 million may be affected.  The UCLA Health System said Friday [7/17/2015] that it has been the victim of a criminal cyberattack affecting as many as 4.5 million patients.  The attackers accessed a computer network that contains personal and medical information.  The university said there was no evidence yet that any such data was taken, but it can't rule out that possibility while the investigation continues.

Will ObamaCare Enrollees Have Their Data Stolen, Too?  In the case of OPM, they had been repeatedly warned that their networks were vulnerable to cyberattacks, yet did little to improve security.  As a result, private data on more than 21 million people, some of whom were applying for federal security clearances, are in the hands of hackers believed to be from China.  At least all of these people were current or former employees of the federal government., on the other hand, now collects information on millions of private citizens who apply for ObamaCare coverage at this federal exchange, and operates a data hub that connects a multitude of other government databases.  It, too, appears to suffer from the same indifference to cybersecurity as OPM.

Obamacare Is Here to Prey.  [Scroll down]  If you go to a hospital or buy health insurance, it is against federal law for those entities to disclose any of your personal information to outside parties.  But they're not the government.  Earlier this year AP reported, "The government's health insurance website is quietly sending consumers' personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and... marketing."  That's right, marketing.  Another requirement that the government imposes on hospitals and insurers is that they destroy old records after a certain period of time.  But they're not the government.  AP also reports, "A government data warehouse stores personal information forever on millions of people who seek coverage under President Obama's health care law, including those who open an account on but don't sign up for coverage."  Yes, forever.  And this system, called MIDAS, went live without an adequate risk assessment according to the Government Accountability Office.

Dump the idea of centralized electronic medical records.  Electronic medical records were supposed to save doctors' time and improve results by putting your entire medical history in one place.  Two major problems.  First, it doesn't work.  What takes a physician a couple of minutes to write on your chart now can become a burdensome scroll through computer screens: [...] Politico further reports that the idea of electronic records, conceived as an idea under G.W. Bush but implemented by the Obama administration, found a lot of federal money chasing an idea whose technology was not ready.

Medical data, cybercriminals' holy grail, now espionage target.  Whoever was behind the latest theft of personal data from U.S. government computers, they appear to be following a new trend set by cybercriminals:  targeting increasingly valuable medical records and personnel files.

Doctors Beware: the Electronic Health Records Debacle May Get Much Worse.  More and more people are having the disturbing experience of seeing their doctors spend more time pecking at a computer keyboard than examining them.  The doctors are entering data into their patients' electronic health records (EHRs) in compliance with federal rules introduced a few years ago.  EHRs drive doctors crazy.  Their own experience tells them that electronic recordkeeping interferes with care, by taking time away from patients.  In a survey conducted by the Deloitte consulting group, three of four doctors said EHRs are not worth the cost.  The influential RAND Corporation, which had long endorsed EHRs, reported in 2013 that they neither saved money nor improved care.

Lawyers smell blood in electronic medical records.  As electronic medical records (EMRs) proliferate under federal regulations, kludgey workflow processes and patient data entry quality can be problematic.  The inherent issues with EMRs — and for the healthcare professionals required to learn them — hasn't been lost on lawyers, who see the potential for millions of dollars in judgments for plaintiffs suing for medical negligence.  Keith Klein, a medical doctor and professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, described four such cases where judgments reached more than $7.5 million because the data contained in an EMR couldn't be trusted in court.

Stolen Identity: 2.3 Million Americans Suffer Medical ID Theft.  Medical identity theft is one of the most costly, confusing and potentially dangerous types of fraud — and a new study shows it's on a sharp rise.  Medical ID theft soared 22 percent in 2014, The Ponemon Institute said in its fifth annual survey published Monday [2/23/2015].  Ponemon estimates more than 2.3 million adult Americans or close family members became victims during or before 2014.  Once someone becomes a victim, it's extremely difficult to untangle the fraudulent bills and ruined medical records.

Get the Federal Government Out of the Electronic Health Records Business.  In 2009, the federal government decided that doctors and hospitals were slow to take up electronic health records (EHR).  Isn't everyone fed up with filling out forms and having his or her medical records filed in manila folders?  So the feds decided to dish out $30 billion to pay doctors and hospitals to install EHRs credentialed by a new government agency, the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC).  By July 2014, $25 billion of these payments had gone out the door.  Unfortunately, results indicate that this federal spending has perverted the natural adoption of EHRs, and may have even lowered the quality of care.

Massive Data Breach At Health Insurer Anthem Reveals Social Security Numbers And More.  Today [2/4/2015], Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in America revealed that hackers broke into the company's servers and stole social security numbers and other personal information.  This is a massive data breach with the potential to expose the information of nearly 80 million Anthem customers and has the potential to be the largest health care related data breach in history.

Anthem Health Insurer Says Cyberattack Stole Data of Millions.  Anthem, one of the nation's largest health insurers, said late Wednesday that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a "very sophisticated external cyberattack."  The company, which is continuing its investigation into the exact scope of the attack, said hackers were able to breach a database that contained as many as 80 million records of current and former customers, as well as employees.  The information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email and employment information, including income data.

257,000 Doctors Will Get Medicare Pay Cut For Using Paper Records.  More than 250,000 physicians and other health professionals are being notified as early as today [12/18/2014] that their payments from Medicare and Medicaid will be cut because they aren't adequately using electronic health records in their practices, the Obama administration confirmed.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS, is telling about 257,000 eligible medical care providers who are largely physicians that they will be paid 1 percent less in reimbursement next year from both the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and the Medicaid insurance program for the poor because they failed to comply with so-called "Meaningful Use" of electronic health records standards in 2013.

Another Obamacare blow to personal privacy.  Last week, the Health and Human Services Department announced a plan to share your medical records with over 35 federal agencies — all in the name of "health care," of course.  All in the name of "efficiency," the favorite excuse used by fascists wherever they appear.  Of Obamacare's many assaults on our quality of life, financial security and personal privacy, there was a pre-Obamacare signal from the federal government that any expectation of medical privacy was quickly becoming a quaint, and dead, notion.

Sony's Hacking Nightmare Gets Worse: Employees Medical Records Revealed.  Documents stolen from Sony Corp. by hackers include detailed and identifiable health information on more than three dozen employees, their children or spouses — a sign of how much information employers have on their workers and how easily it can become public.  One memo by a human resources executive, addressed to the company's benefits committee, disclosed details on an employee's child with special needs, including the diagnosis and the type of treatment the child was receiving.  The memo discussed the employee's appeal of thousands of dollars in medical claims denied by the insurance company.

Federal sites leaked the locations of people seeking AIDS services for years.  Two federal government Web sites that help people find AIDS-related medical services have begun routinely encrypting user data after years in which they let sensitive information — including the real-world locations of site visitors — onto the Internet unprotected.  Until the change, these sites had risked exposing the identities of visitors when they used search boxes to find nearby facilities offering HIV testing, treatment and other services, such as substance abuse and mental health counseling, say security experts.  Government smartphone apps associated with one of the Web sites,, also transmitted the latitude and longitude of users seeking services, after collecting those details from the phones of users.

Electronic medical records: The silver is off this bullet.  The mass adoption of electronic health records was part of the 2009 stimulus package that many people liked on both sides of the aisle.  It would become a key concept within the context of healthcare reform. [...] But as the Washington Examiner's Richard Pollock reported this week, this program is now lurching toward an early death.  With tens of billions of dollars spent, only about 3 percent of America's doctors and 16 percent of its hospitals now have record keeping systems that can interoperate with one another.  Even worse, nearly half of the medical professionals participating in the incentive program are now expected to drop out.

Obamacare Ruins More Than Health Care.  No government intrusion in our lives is more direct, personal and threatening than Obamacare's intrusion in the care of our own health. [...] The suppression of liberty in health care choices will take all privacy down with it.  Tight government control of electronic medical records — which used to be private — seems a minor contribution to the destruction of the Fourth Amendment compared to the seizure of everyone's communications with everybody, without individual court orders based on probable cause.  How can we protest loss of privacy in any communications when we must surrender it for our medical records?

Community Health Systems says personal data stolen in cyber attack.  Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N), one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said on Monday [8/18/2014] it was the victim of a cyber attack from China, resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients.  Security experts said the hacking group, known as "APT 18," may have links to the Chinese government.

Hospital network hacked, 4.5 million records stolen.  Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals across the United States, announced on Monday [8/18/2014] that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.  Hackers have gained access to their names, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers.

Big brother is watching — your waistline.  Medical records, social media, credit card records and new activity tracking gadgets like Fitbits are being used to assess your riskiness to yourself and to the cost-conscious health care system.  Aetna is among the companies paving the way.  It's using data analytics and interventions on its own 50,000 employees — and about 40 of the companies it insures are using them, too.  The data explosion — some would say intrusion — is being fueled by trends in the private sector and by federal policies, including elements of Obamacare.

Hopkins to pay $190 million after doctor secretly photographed patients.  Johns Hopkins Health System has agreed to pay $190 million to settle the case of a gynecologist who secretly photographed and recorded his patients.  The doctor committed suicide after confessing to the clandestine photos and recordings.

Welcome to the End of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality.  When the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" passed, the end of doctor-patient confidentiality was predictable — but we could not have expected it to happen this soon.  ObamaCare, with the aid of hospitals, insurers, banks, and private data managers, is initiating a program to track store and credit card purchases to see if people are telling the truth about their lifestyle choices. [...] The reality is that any personal physician can size up a person's lifestyle choices in five minutes of face-to-face contact. [...] The only reason for the government to be doing this is so that they can make financial decisions independent of the physician.

Hospitals Spy on Your Purchases to Spot Bad Habits.  You may soon get a call from your doctor if you've let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of picking up candy bars at the check-out counter or begin shopping at plus-sized stores.  That's because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do.

So Much For HIPAA — Government Now Mining Health Records.  Hey, does anyone remember how liberals screech about how abortion rights are all about "privacy" and we need to keep the government away from our bodies?  I wonder why they all aren't protesting how the government is mining our health data.  Maybe because they say it's for our own good.

Department of Veterans Affairs employees destroyed veterans' medical records to cancel backlogged exam requests.  Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans' medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told The Daily Caller.  Audio of an internal VA meeting obtained by TheDC confirms that VA officials in Los Angeles intentionally canceled backlogged patient exam requests.

Obama administration knew that veterans' personal info was at risk, security programs violated federal law.  The Obama administration's Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) knew that a breach of veterans' personal information was "practically unavoidable" months before it happened in January, according to an internal VA risk assessment that also said the department's security programs are "non-compliant" with three federal laws.

MaineCare application asks personal questions, such as where a child was conceived.  Single parents applying online for MaineCare coverage are being asked personal questions — such as whether their child was conceived in Maine and why the absent parent no longer lives in the home — as part of the application.  From a scroll-down menu of possible reasons that the other parent left home, the MaineCare applicant can choose "unwed parenthood, divorce, abandonment, death, separation, incarceration" and others.

Wrong Chart? Dead Patient? HHS Issues Safety Tips for Using E-Health Records.  Electronic health records (EHRs) are supposed to improve patient care, but only if the doctor is treating the right patient.  "Wrong-patient charting is one of the more common safety problems in EHRs and can result in both data integrity and data confidentiality issues when protected health information is disclosed in the wrong chart and is missing from the right chart," says a new set of safety guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday [1/15/2014].  "Steps should be taken to ensure that the person using an EHR to care for a patient is addressing the intended patient," the safety tips add.

IRS seizes 60M medical records for massive tax fraud investigation.  The healthcare entity that slapped the Internal Revenue Service with a class action lawsuit back in March over allegedly seizing the private medical records of 10 million Americans has now been identified.  The company's founder, the subject of extensive investigation by the IRS, was indicted last summer on 13 counts of tax evasion, conspiracy and filing fraudulent tax returns.

Obama Administration Proposes Rule Changes to Say HIPAA Does Not Apply to Second Amendment.  Earlier this week we heard about the proposed executive actions from the White House that would expand who could be reported as being mentally defection to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Many at the time wondered how such a rule change could stand given the strict Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations followed in the United States which take great measures to protect the personal medical information of patients.  Now we know how they're going to do.  They're just going to change HIPAA to basically make it null and void in regards to the Second Amendment.

Security breach at UW Medicine affects 90,000 patients.  The personal information of approximately 90,000 patients of Harborview Medical Center and University of Washington Medical Center, which are part of UW Medicine, has reportedly been compromised as the result of a malware attack that affected a facility computer that stored patient data.

Doesn't the HIPAA law prevent this?
NBC Presents All-Positive Story on 'Shared Medical Appointments'.  It appears that NBC is trying to prepare us for the future of health care scarcity that ObamaCare is likely to bring.  On Saturday's Today, chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman presented a story on a new phenomenon that has popped up in some hospitals and clinics around the country:  shared medical appointments.  The idea is to put as many as 15 people with similar health problems in the same room with their doctor so they can all discuss their medical issues together.

Thanks for nothing, President Obama.  President Obama's war on America has accelerated.  We're losing ground on every front. [...] Aided and abetted by nearly all of the Ds and most of the Rs, he pardons unions and megacorporations from Obamacare.  There is no reprieve yet for the millions of Americans who liked their healthcare plans and planned to keep them.  Expect unilateral, unconstitutional action, though, to provide breathing room until after 2014 elections.  Planned Parenthood and other unvetted hoods have been made official agents of change under the ACA.  Under penalty of law, Americans are forced to provide far more personal information to the Feds than our Dear Leader did as a candidate for the presidency.

ID Verification Lagging on Health Care Website.  Just days before the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to fix the troubled federal health insurance website, officials said Monday [11/25/2013] that they were aware of another problem that has prevented thousands of people who were unable to verify their identity from shopping for health plans.  Many users of the website have had their applications cast into limbo after they uploaded copies of documents like driver's licenses, Social Security cards and voter registration cards, or sent them to the office of the federal insurance marketplace in London, Ky.

ObamaCare Website Opens Door For Mass Identity Theft.  "Not only is the poorly designed and still only partially built ObamaCare website, vulnerable to attack by computer hackers, it already may have been compromised, cybersecurity expert David Kennedy told a House Science, Space & Technology Committee hearing on Tuesday [11/19/2013].  "Hackers are definitely after it," said Kennedy, CEO of data security firm Trusted SEC.  "And if I had to guess, based on what I can see... I would say the website is either hacked already or will be soon."  What kind of government would lay bare the lives of its own citizens to online marauding identity thieves?  The answer to the question is chilling when it becomes obvious that it is an evil rather than stupid one.

ObamaCare Website Is Like 'IdentityTheft.Gov'.  Computer security experts testify that the unfinished health care marketplace portal places the personal information of millions at risk on a poorly designed and built site that is a hacker's dream.  Not only is the poorly designed and still only partially built ObamaCare website,, vulnerable to attack by computer hackers, it already may have been comprised, cybersecurity expert David Kennedy told a House Science, Space, & Technology Committee hearing on Tuesday.  "Hackers are definitely after it," said Kennedy, CEO of data security firm Trusted SEC.  "And if I had to guess, based on what I can see ... I would say the website is either hacked already or will be soon."

The Editor says...
If you think a national ID card is a good idea, let the Obamacare rollout be a lesson to you.  The national ID card system would require the ingest of all your personally identifying information into a government sytem — almost certainly including a connection to the internet along the way.  Just like Obamacare, that system won't work as advertised, and the details of your identity will be exposed to con artists and thieves.  This is inevitable, because it will be a massive bureaucracy run by the same incompetent government that is trying to build the Obamacare on-line registration system on the fly.

Obamacare website is not safe or secure and should be shut down, say security experts.  President Barack Obama's site is riddled with security flaws that put user data of millions of people at risk and it should be shut down until fixed, several technology experts warned lawmakers on Tuesday [11/19/2013].

Six reasons Obamacare will only get worse for Democrats:  [#6]  Security breaches will increase.  There have already been so many Web site problems and so many unanswered questions about Web site security that it's surprising administration officials are still claiming they are "confident" in the system.  A big security breach is inevitable.  It's just a matter of time.  Even just the few horror stories we have heard so far prove what we all know:  The Web site will not protect everybody's sensitive, personal health care and financial data.

Top official for ObamaCare exchanges calls withheld security concerns 'disturbing'.  The top operational officer for the problem-plagued ObamaCare exchanges said in testimony before a House committee he found it "disturbing" that he was never made aware of significant security issues with the exchanges before they launched.

Obamacare exchange: Hackers welcome, no experience necessary.  The Obamacare insurance exchange is making it incredibly easy for identity thieves to gain access to your information.  You only have to ask.  The exchange reportedly gave a St. Louis woman's personal information, including home address and Social Security number, to three different people.  Lisa Martinson registered in the exchange and later forgot her password.  When she called customer service, she was informed that her account information was given to three different people, according to News 4 St. Louis.  Now she just wants her personal data offline.  The exchange told her that could take up to five days.

Con Men Prey on Confusion Over Health Care Act.  To the list of problems plaguing President Obama's health care law, add one more — fraud.  With millions of Americans frustrated and bewildered by the trouble-prone federal website for health insurance, con men and unscrupulous marketers are seizing their chance.  State and federal authorities report a rising number of consumer complaints, ranging from deceptive sales practices to identity theft, linked to the Affordable Care Act.

Chief IT Officer Fired By Obama Might Have Been Terminated For Refusing to Sign False Certification.  I thought the Chief IT officer was being scapegoated because the system was a catastrophic failure.  Silly me — Obama doesn't fire people for failure.  He promotes them.

Update: CMS, Tavener Seem to Have Violated Federal Rules in Falsely Certifying As "Secure".  It appears that CMS violated federal guidelines regarding security certification.  Federal rules require that website be certified as secure before being permitted to go live.  For reasons that I trust are obvious.  But was never tested, and the White House and CMS were being warned by IT people that it was insecure.

Fright Of The Navigator: ObamaCare Guides Could Be Felons.  Kathleen Sebelius admits that convicted felons could be hired as ObamaCare "navigators," giving them access to the personal information of those signing up.  Some might already be on the job.

Felons could have been hired as ObamaCare 'navigators,' Sebelius tells Senate panel.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday [11/06/2013] that it was possible convicted felons could be hired as ObamaCare 'navigators,' giving them access to personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses of anyone signing up for the program.  Sebelius made the admission in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., during a Senate Finance Committee hearing.  It was the second time in a week Sebelius was on Capitol Hill, forced to defend the problem-plagued ObamaCare website.

You might be giving all your personal information to a felon, but the navigators are standing by!
Sebelius: Obamacare Navigators Don't Need Criminal Background Checks.  Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today [11/6/2013] that Obamacare navigators don't need to undergo criminal background checks.  [Video clip]

Security hole found in Obamacare website.  The Obamacare website has more than annoying bugs.  A cybersecurity expert found a way to hack into users' accounts.  Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account. Has a Big EDI Problem.  '834' is a code for a type of EDI message that is tailored specifically for the healthcare industry.  The purpose of the 834 message for is to route information about new enrollees to insurance companies.  Sending an 834 is the last thing does in the enrollment process — from that point forward, the insurance companies theoretically have everything they need to enroll the new policy holders.  The 834 contains information on each enrollee such as name, address, family members, enrollment plan and other details.  It is critical that the 834 messages are formatted properly, contain correct information, and are processed correctly by the insurance companies.

The Editor says...
Those "834" packets had better be well encrypted, or the data streams going to the insurance companies will be fuel for identity thieves.

Stolen laptops have health information on thousands of patients.  Medical information about 729,000 patients has been compromised by the theft of two laptops belonging to a California hospital group, company officials say.

Your Personal Data Can Be Used For 'Law Enforcement, Audit Activities'.  Maryland's Health Connection, the state's Obamacare marketplace, has been plagued by delays in the first days of open enrollment.  If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the website's privacy policy, a ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread.  Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms.

ObamaCare reg on digital patient records raises security concerns.  A provision in ObamaCare requiring medical providers to switch from paper patient charts to electronic records is intended to reduce costs and improve care.  But privacy advocates fear the transition is too fast for security measures to keep pace.  "The thing I worry about is not that we are doing it, but that we're doing it without the right safeguards," said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

'Is everybody wrong' about health care except Obama?  Your health records no longer will be private — and neither will your sex life.  "Are you sexually active?  If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?"  That's just one of the questions you'll soon be forced to answer.  Why?  Because once the government's involved, everything is its business.

Patient Privacy Goes Out the Window and Into the ObamaCare Data Hub.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — "ObamaCare" as it will be forever known in the annals of failed, big-government policies — wants to know what you've been up to in your sex life.  It's ironic that ObamaCare, passed in the dead of night with only Democrat votes, should make such an egregious attempt to violate the privacy rights of medical patients.  After all, wasn't it the Democratic Party that held a national convention in 2012 celebrating abortion and claiming a woman's "choice" should be a private matter between her and her doctor?

On Campus, a Faculty Uprising Over Personal Data.  Penn State administrators quietly introduced the plan, called "Take Care of Your Health," this summer in the deadest part of the academic calendar. [...] The plan requires nonunion employees, like professors and clerical staff members, to visit their doctors for a checkup, undergo several biometric tests and submit to an extensive online health risk questionnaire that asks, among other questions, whether they have recently had problems with a co-worker, a supervisor or a divorce.

Obama Wants Your Sexual History.  Doctors are being turned into government agents, where they're pressured financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary and violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients' records confidential.  Going to the doctor can be embarrassing.  But for your own good, you confide in your doctor, as you wouldn't anyone else.  What is happening here is different.

Government Seeking Inclusion of 'Social and Behavioral' Data in Health Records.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to require health care providers to include "social and behavioral" data in Electronic Health Records (EHR) and to link patient's records to public health departments, it was announced last week.  Health care experts say the proposal raises additional privacy concerns over Americans' personal health information, on top of worries that the Obamacare "data hub" could lead to abuse by bureaucrats and identify theft.

Minnesota ObamaCare exchange breach exposes 2400 agents to identity theft.  [N]o one was laughing yesterday [9/13/2013] after an employee at the exchange e-mailed out confidential information on 2,400 agents to an insurance broker — reminding everyone that data security in the ObamaCare exchanges isn't exactly a top priority.

How Obamacare Makes Theft Of Your Identity More Likely.  Last week, the Obama Administration doled out tens of millions of dollars to "community groups" across the country, with few strings attached.  These groups — and those posing as them — could gain access to consumer addresses, Social Security numbers, and medical information.  It's the President's gift to some of his grassroots allies.  And it could be a bonanza for identity thieves.

Planned Parenthood Will Have Access to SS#, Tax, Medical Information.  If you thought that it was frightening enough that the federal government was spying on you and had access to your personal information, get ready:  Planned Parenthood is about to obtain access to your Social Security number, tax form, bank account, and medical records.

Attorneys general raise privacy concerns over ObamaCare navigators.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi argued late Friday [8/16/2013] that new hires under ObamaCare could threaten the private information of people trying to get health insurance.  Bondi said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person's private information to fall into the wrong hands.

The Rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  As we advance toward the much anticipated rollout of Obamacare on October 1, the true horror of what Congress and the president have wrought is beginning to sink in.  There is a growing nervousness that the state insurance exchanges not only won't be ready, but may harbor a dangerous vulnerability that would allow hackers access to the personal information of consumers who sign up for insurance via the sites.

The Next Threat to Your Privacy.  Who has access to your Social Security number, your bank information, and your tax records?  When Obamacare's health insurance exchanges open, your data could be exposed to shysters and hackers, thanks to serious vulnerabilities in the system.  The exchanges are scheduled to open on October 1.  But the list of implementation failures keeps growing, and the security of Americans' data is threatened.

Busybody Politics.  ObamaCare is perhaps the ultimate in busybody politics.  People who have never even run a drugstore, much less a hospital, blithely prescribe what must be done by the entire medical system, from doctors to hospitals to producers of pharmaceutical drugs to health insurance companies.  This includes federal laws requiring the turning over of patients' confidential medical records to the federal government, where these records can be looked at by politicians, bureaucrats and whoever can hack into the government's computers. Neither you nor your doctor has a right to keep this information confidential.

ObamaCare Poses a Massive Privacy Risk.  As far back as December 2012, Obama administration officials were insisting that the data hub at the center of the ObamaCare exchanges was nearly finished.  Yet all the while, they were pushing back deadlines or missing them altogether, to the point where, unless ObamaCare's launch is delayed, millions of people's privacy will be at risk.  Obama officials may, in fact, have flat-out lied to lawmakers about the data hub's progress.

Cantor on ObamaCare: The IRS in doctors' offices threatens everyone's privacy.  A few weeks ago, the White House announced it would delay the employer mandate under ObamaCare.  The evidence is clear, this law is threatening job growth and turning full-time jobs into part-time jobs.  On top of the negative economic and health consequences of ObamaCare, the law requires an unholy union between the IRS and your protected health information.

The imminent health-exchange scandal.  [Scroll down]  In reality, the beta version [of the Affordable Care Act] jammed through a few months ago will, unless delayed and fixed, inflict on the public the most widespread violation of the Privacy Act in our history.

The Dangerous ObamaCare Data Hub.  Under the guise of expanding Americans' access to healthcare, "the federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic," Stephen T. Parente and Paul Howard asserted in a USA Today column.  That consolidation is called the Federal Data Services Hub, and it is being assembled as part of ObamaCare's insurance exchange implementation.

Privacy fears grow as Obama weighs expanded gun-buyer database.  Mental health advocates are worried that the privacy of people who have received treatment for their illnesses could be jeopardized by a White House push to expand a database used to run background checks on gun buyers.

IRS dumps up to 100,000 Social Security numbers on the Internet.  We're in the very best of hands, aren't we?  Just wait until the people who slipped up and posted up to 100,000 Social Security numbers onto a website are in charge of your health care information.

They're up in arms of the NSA database, but what about ObamaCare and health records?  [Scroll down]  What I have a hard time understanding, however, is how one can get worked up into a near panic about an overreaching national security apparatus while also celebrating other government expansions into our lives, chief among them the hydrahead leviathan of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).  The 2009 stimulus created a health database that will store all your health records.  The Federal Data Services Hub will record everything bureaucrats deem useful, from your incarceration record and immigration status to whether or not you had an abortion or were treated for depression or erectile dysfunction.

Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes The ObamaCare Hub.  The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government's data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare.  Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide "a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub."  The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.

Obamacare will share personal health info with federal, state agencies.  A new 253-page Obamacare rule issued late Friday [6/14/2013] requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking to join the new health care program that will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.  Protected health information, or PHI, is highly protected under federal law, but the latest ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services allows agencies to trade the information to verify that Obamacare applicants are getting the minimum amount of health insurance coverage they need from the health "exchanges."

House committee looks into IRS seizure of 60 million medical records.  Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are looking into allegations that the Internal Revenue Service seized 60 million medical records from a California health care provider.  "(T)he Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating allegations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in the course of executing a search warrant at a California health care provider's corporate headquarters in March 2011, improperly seized the personal medical records of millions of American citizens in possible violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution," members of the committee wrote in a letter Tuesday [6/11/2013] to Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.

House panel to probe alleged seizure of medical records by IRS.  A top House committee launched another probe of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tuesday [6/11/2013] after a lawsuit alleged that the agency improperly seized millions of personal medical records in California.  In a letter, Republican leaders on the Energy and Commerce panel asked the IRS to explain how it handles confidential medical information.  "While [federal] privacy rules restrict the ability of a covered entity to release protected health information, those rules appear to impose no restrictions on the IRS's ability to use such information after it is obtained," the lawmakers wrote.

More ask for Social Security numbers; can you withhold it?  Robert Scudder had heard the stories about police routinely finding identity thieves with other people's medical records so he decided on a simple course to protect himself:  He would stop giving his Social Security number to new doctors.  "I'm concerned about becoming a victim," said Scudder, a 63-year-old Zephyrhills retired child services investigator.  "I know some other people who have."

Obamacare "Navigators": Another Sebelius Snitch Brigade?.  U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius controls a $54 million slush fund to hire thousands of "navigators," "in-person assisters" and counselors who will propagandize and enroll Obamacare recipients in government-run health insurance exchanges.  This nanny-state navigator corps is the Mother of all Community Organizing Boondoggles.  It's also yet another Obama threat to Americans' privacy.

The IRS attempts to save Obamacare by unilaterally declaring that it will disregard the law.
An IRS Scandal Inseparable from Obamacare.  Thanks to ubiquitous if imperfectly honest press coverage, most Americans know about the IRS scandal involving tax-exempt applications from various Tea Party groups.  The public is still, however, getting the mushroom treatment on two other outrages by that rogue agency.  The media have devoted scant coverage to its theft of 60 million medical records, now the subject of a class action lawsuit, and they have been all but silent regarding the illegal IRS scheme to fund Obamacare's federal insurance exchanges.

The Obama Crony in Charge of your Medical Records.  Who is Judy Faulkner?  Chances are, you don't know her — but her politically connected, taxpayer-subsidized electronic medical records company may very well know you.  Top Obama donor and billionaire Faulkner is founder and CEO of Epic Systems, which will soon store almost half of all Americans' health information.  If the crony odor and the potential for abuse that this "epic" arrangement poses don't chill your bones, you ain't paying attention.

CVS policy requires workers to 'voluntarily' report health information... or pay a $600 fine.  A new policy at the popular pharmacy chain CVS is causing outrage after the company announced it will require its employees to report their weight, BMI, and glucose levels — or pay a hefty fine.  CVS Caremark, which is based in Rhode Island, has some 200,000 employees.  The controversial new policy would require workers to sign a waiver that they 'voluntarily' disclosed the information, but those who opt out must pay a $600 fee.

We're All CVS Employees Now.  Starting in 2014, per the dictates of the federal government, your doctor must record your body mass index (BMI), which measures whether you are overweight, each time he or she treats you and turn it over to the government via your electronic health record, which every patient is required to have.  Your BMI will then be tracked by the Health and Human Services Department, the agency rolling out ObamaCare, and a bevy of other state and federal agencies.

CVS asks workers to submit medical information or pay extra health care fine.  CVS is coming under fire for a controversial new policy that requires all employees who use its health plan to submit vital information or pay extra for health insurance.  The pharmacy chain has told all of its nearly 200,000 workers on its health care plan that they have until May 1 to get a health screening and report back to the company their weight, height, blood pressure and other levels if they don't want their rates to go up.

Electronic Medical Records Allowing Increased Billing, Abuses.  The Obama administration maintains that pushing hospitals and physicians to adopt electronic medical records will improve efficiency, increase patient safety, and reduce health care costs.  But as more providers transition to EMRs, there has been an unexpected consequence:  Billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers, and patients.

How ObamaCare destroys your privacy.  It soon may be difficult to keep any sensitive medical problem strictly between you and your doctor.  The 2009 stimulus and the Obama health law enacted last year established a national electronic health database that will hold and display your lifelong medical history — making it accessible to a troubling number of strangers, including government employees and a variety of health-care personnel.

Obama's Electronic Medical Records Scam.  In theory, modernizing record-collection is a good idea, and many private health care providers have already made the change.  But as with many government "incentive" programs, the EMR bribe is a tax-subsidized, one-size-fits-all mandate.  This one pressures health care professionals and hospitals across the country into radically federalizing their patient data and opening up medical information to untold abuse.

Will Your Medical Information Be Used Against You?  Now that the cozy relationship between Google and the government has been brought to light it leads one to wonder what other favors will Google be granted?  It is conceivable that they can use a loophole in HIPPA to flout the regulations and share or sell the medical information that they obtain on their Google Health Website that was launched in May 2010.  While Google states in their privacy policy that they will not sell your private health information, it is charged by Consumer Watchdog that they have been lobbying Congress to do just that.  If this is allowed, they would join pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies in the ability to make a profit off of private health information.

Your Medical Records Aren't Secure.  I learned about the lack of health privacy when I hung out my shingle as a psychiatrist.  Patients asked if I could keep their records private if they paid for care themselves.  They had lost jobs or reputations because what they said in the doctor's office didn't always stay in the doctor's office.  That was 35 years ago, in the age of paper.  In today's digital world the problem has only grown worse.

EPIC's web page about Medical Privacy.  What's In Your Medical Records?  Besides information about physical health, these records may include information about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and even the private thoughts and feelings that come with psychotherapy.  This information is often keyed to a social security number.  Because of a lack of consistent privacy protection in the use of Social Security Numbers, the information may be easily accessible.  Information from your medical records may influence your credit, admission to educational institutions, and employment.  It may also affect your ability to get health insurance, or the rates you pay for coverage.

What Privacy?  The federal medical privacy rule went into effect on April 14, 2003.  It gives us no reason to celebrate.

More on the New Horizon:  Did you have a strange cough in 1978?  We are told that our health records, which of course are blueprints to how our lives were lived, will become part of a national data base (do we really wish some clerk in HHS or a regional office, with instant access to the details of 300 million Americans, leaking (cf. Joe the Plumber and leaks about his post-marriage problems) information that candidate X, critic Y, or political opponent Z had a positive TB test once, or took some meds for some unmentionable disease, or tried an anti-depressant for a month or so?)

The Fight for Medical Privacy Continues in Washington.  Medical privacy advocates enjoyed a victory [in March 2001] when the Supreme Court ruled that a government hospital in South Carolina violated the constitutional rights of pregnant women by testing them for drugs without their consent.  The hospital ostensibly began the testing program because of concerns about increasing cocaine use by pregnant patients, but if the hospital was concerned only with patient and fetus health, why were test results turned over to law enforcement?

Medical "Privacy" Rule Tab $18 Billion, Value $0 Bill Clinton's medical "privacy" regulation that President Bush adopted will cost $18 billion over 10 years.  Regulators couldn't assign it even one cent of measurable benefit.  Critics of the massive new bureaucratic program say it will place enormous financial and paperwork burdens on the health industry, add to patients' costs of medical care and provide less, rather than more, privacy protection.

Rep. Paul Joins Fight Against Bogus "Privacy" Rules:  Congressman Ron Paul, a surgeon who knows the ins and outs of the health care profession, agrees with the longstanding position that rules are, in a word, bogus.

The Assault on Freedom, Federalism, and Privacy:  There always have been busybody neighbors, dumpster-diving thieves, and intrusive journalists, but protecting personal privacy has become even more important in the computer age.  Threats come from all quarters. … However, sometimes the gravest threat to privacy and our liberties comes not from thieves but from government officials who claimed that their "need to know" trumps the individual right to be left alone.

Doc, what's up with snooping?  I send my daughter to the pediatrician to find out if she's fit to play lacrosse, and the doctor spends her time trying to find out if her mom and I are drunk, drug-addicted sex criminals.  We're not alone, either.  Thanks to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the commonwealth, doctors across Massachusetts are interrogating our kids about mom and dad's "bad" behavior.  We used to be proud parents.  Now, thanks to the AAP, we're "persons of interest."
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2015 by Andrew K. Dart

Government Unveils Privacy Standards.  The government Thursday [2/13/2003] issued standards health insurers and other entities must abide by to protect the privacy of electronically transmitted health data, but consumer advocates said the provisions would do little to ensure patient confidentiality.

HHS "Privacy" Standards: The Coming Destruction of American Medical Privacy

Drug histories exposed.  An investigation by The Harvard Crimson was reported in that newspaper on 1/21/2005, noting that a Harvard University website, iCommons Poll Tool, for months had contained confidential information on the drug purchase history of students and employees that was easily accessible to outsiders.

Why Rush Limbaugh's Medical File Matters.  Why should we care that Rush Limbaugh's medical records might be exposed during a trial for doctor shopping?  Because once his records are revealed, our medical records as well as those for every patient in every physician are at risk.  When this happens, your friends, relatives, employers and health insurers are going to know things about you that are simply not their business.

Big Brother Knows Your Medications.  A little-known federal program requires pharmacists to report patients' names, their prescriptions, the amount of the medication they receive and the names of their doctors.  In 17 states, police have access to that data.

How the Press Distorts "Privacy"The establishment press is ballyhooing a recent Clinton-and-Bush regulation as protecting the privacy of patients' medical records.  Actually, the rule does the opposite.

Privacy Advocates Clash With Administration Over New Rules:  At issue are changes to the Clinton-era health care privacy rule proposed by the Bush administration that would allow health care providers to use or disclose, without patient consent, medical records for purposes of treatment, payment, or "health care operations."

Part 1 of 6: Medical "Privacy" Regulations Destroy Privacy:  Federal privacy regulations issued by the Clinton administration on Dec. 28, 2000, and adopted by the Bush administration on April 14, 2001, perpetrate a fraud on the American people, proclaiming privacy as their goal when ever-wider access to individual medical records is their actual and intended effect.

Part 2: Medical "Privacy" Rules Advance a National ID:  Why should ordinary people bother to read the medical privacy rules anyway?  Media and government sources continue to assert the benign nature of the new regulations, which are said to promise cost savings through database standardization along with protection of people's medical privacy.  Why be concerned?

Part 3: Media and Feds Whitewash Invasive Medical "Privacy" Rules:  For those who have learned about the federal medical privacy rules through the popular media, the benefit would seem clear.  Indeed, it is difficult to find in the popular press any report that questions the strength of these privacy protections or suggests their privacy-eroding impact.

Part 4:  'Privacy' Rules Spread Your Personal Medical Information:  A provision that facilitates virtually unfettered sharing of our medical information between government agencies is tucked away on page 21 of the HHS regulation's fine print.  This provision allows certain government health plans, such as Medicare or the State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), to disclose individually identifiable medical records to other government agencies without patient consent.

Part 5:  How Big Brother Foists Invasive Regulations on the Public:  The only way these regulations might restore such trust is if government officials make sure that people do not understand the rule's actual content.

Part 6:  One Final Hope for Saving Medical Privacy:  The outlook for medical privacy is bleak. When the Bush administration allowed the medical privacy rule to take effect, privacy advocates expressed hope that the rule's fundamental problems might be remedied by future modifications of offending provisions, but such melioration now appears unlikely. Although some revisions are to be expected, it is highly doubtful that the basic structure of the regulation will change -- at least not at the government's own initiative.

Feds OK Spreading Medical Records Without Written Permission:  The government's attack on medical privacy has taken a new twist:  Hospitals and doctors can share private information about a patient's health with HMOs and insurance companies without the patient's permission, the Bush administration said today. [Aug. 9]

Medical Hoax Slips Big Brother Into Your Private Business:  Hillarycare is coming through the back door.  By the time you know it's there, it will be too late to stop it.  Your confidential medical records will be public knowledge.  In the next few years, it is going to become increasingly simple to transfer electronic medical records over the Internet.

What Americans Need To Know About Medical Privacy Regulations:  Did you know that the federal government is going to change the rules governing who has access to your medical records?  These changes will make it easier for a wide range of individuals and groups to access your medical information.

Trojan Horse Legislation:  Given that the existing system works so well, why do we need a new one?  The answer is that what Colorado doesn't have, and what the proponents of nationalized health care need, is a law letting the state collect and store individual health information on each of its citizens.  To sneak such legislation past a population that has already said no to government-controlled health care, its proponents routinely disguise their proposals as measures designed to help immunize The Children.

How to Protect Your Medical Privacy:  That privacy in the U.S. is a joke is rapidly becoming the consensus.  But there are specific steps you can take to protect your confidential information, particularly your medical records.  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.

Federal "Privacy" Rules Could Kill You.  When you have a medical emergency, you may end up with the worst of both worlds:  Your doctor won't be able to treat you without a federally approved consent form, and your personal medical history will be available to the government.

Rep. Paul Joins Fight Against Bogus 'Privacy' Rules:  Congressman Ron Paul, a surgeon who knows the ins and outs of the health care profession, agrees with the longstanding position that rules are, in a word, bogus.

Forbes Magazine:  New Medical Rules Violate Privacy:  Forbes magazine reports that new federal rule changes relating to your medical records is a "prescription for snooping by government officials and others" and "will only open more files to unwarranted view."

Jail Awaits 'Privacy' Rule ViolatorsThose daring to buck the federal government's new medical-records "privacy" regulation could be denied health care, pay heavy fines or even go to prison.

Privacy Invasions Spread to the StatesThe federal government's medical "privacy" fiasco may now be spreading to the state governments.

"Privacy" Rules Open Door to Socialized Medicine The open sesame to American socialized medicine is not the reviled Unique Personal Identifier but the "privacy protection" lock that will make that key inevitable.  Behind that supposedly secure lock is an electronic national data collection of Americans' personal medical records, resulting from a presidential order imposing a complex web of misnamed "privacy" regulations.  John Perry explains why the new 'privacy' rules backdoor socialized medicine by requiring all Americans to be assigned a health identification number called a UPI -- Unique Patient Identifier. By dog-tagging every American, the government will be able to monitor and control every person's medical records from birth to death.

The Hoax That Keeps On HoaxingBill Clinton's regulation purporting to protect everyone's medical privacy may well be his crowning masterpiece of political legerdemain, the ultimate hoaxer's ultimate hoax.

Asking your doctor about medical privacy may be hazardous to your healthDenial of health care, perhaps leading to death, may be in store for you if you're not careful when talking to your doctor about the government's pending 1,500-page rule on medical privacy.  It is an extremely sensitive subject with health care providers.  They are upset as it is about the cost of implementing it.  And some of them may go nearly over the edge when hearing complaints about the rule's threat to privacy.  They see pro-privacy efforts as possibly making the rule all the more costly.

Pressure to Make Medical Records Even More AccessibleThe rule, proposed in the final days of the Clinton administration, would require doctors, hospitals, HMOs, druggists and other health care providers to share patients' personal medical records, sometimes without notice or advanced warning.

Paul to stall privacy rulesCritics say new rules worsen medical records requirements.

Federal Rule:  Your Medical Records to Be SharedA key part of Hillary Clinton's original health care plan that would have allowed third parties to collect your private medical data and records may become federal law in a matter of weeks.

Health technology bill could weaken privacy.  A measure currently under consideration in the House could weaken medical privacy by granting the federal government authority to preempt state laws, according to critics of the bill.

Medical Microchips — Risk and Uncertainty.  It is a sad reality that many federal laws result in unintended consequences for the public which must abide by them.  Such has been the fate of the much-touted Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law so cumbersome it took the Department of Health and Human Services almost seven years to figure out how to implement it.  The most significant unintended results of HIPAA have occurred in the area of medical privacy.

Will "Health Chips" Be Required for Medical Care?  President Bush's former health secretary Tommy Thompson is putting the final touches to a plan that could result in US citizens having a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip inserted under their skin….  The RFID capsules would be linked to a computerized database being created by the US Department of Health to store and manage the nation's health records.

More information about RFID chips.

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Updated October 1, 2022.

©2022 by Andrew K. Dart