Well, not quite. They can’t legally be published online or in a print publication, but they can be shared with too many groups without our consent.
Most people have never heard of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, but that law is the source of what privacy rights we have and don’t have. HIPAA directed the federal government to establish privacy rules for personal health records, which it did twice, once under Clinton and once under Bush.
As a result, these following named groups have the right to share, view, discuss and whatever else your so-called private health records:
- Data-processing companies
- Researchers (in some instances)
- Doctors (even those not treating you)
- Law enforcement officials
- Public health officials
- Federal government
The issue is now magnified because one of Barack Obama’s plans for socializing, I mean streamlining (government can streamline?) the health care system is to put everyone’s medical record on a nationwide electronic database.
Can you imagine the abuse the aforementioned entities could inflict on unsuspecting Americans if they had instant computer access to everyone’s medical history?
The history of the HIPAA privacy rules is fairly fascinating, so take a trip to find out more at The Institute for Health Freedom.
(If you’re a businessowner, you’ll need to master and implement your responsibilities under HIPAA, and there’s no better way to do that than to purchase a copy of Personnel Concepts’ HIPAA Compliance Kit.)