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Health information confidentiality

Executive Summary

Health reform without legislation on privacy of patient health records would mean that the current "patchwork quilt of state medical confidentiality laws...would probably be worsened" as an electronic data network evolves, House Government Operations/Information Subcommittee Chairman Condit (D-Calif.) notes at a recent hearing. Condit reports that his staff is developing a bill "that will be completed later this fall." A recent Office of Technology Assessment study states that the "increased quantity and availability of data...raise privacy concerns about new demands for information for purposes beyond providing health care, paying for it, or assuring its proper delivery." Although the Health Security Act mandates that legislation on privacy be proposed within three years of enactment of health reform, representatives from the American Medical Association, American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Data Systems assert that language on patient privacy must be in place on the front end of reform.
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PS023593

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