ACLU of Washington Legislation Would Protect Medical Record Privacy

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
January 24, 2000 12:00 am

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ACLU of Washington
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 24, 2000

OLYMPIA, WA — Responding to citizen demands for action to safeguard sensitive personal information, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has drafted House and Senate bills to protect the privacy of people’s medical information.

The bills would prohibit non-health care providers with legitimate access to medical records from disclosing the information to anyone else for further use. The bills would also bar insurance companies from marketing medical records to third parties.

“Washington citizens have a right to expect that their medical records will be used to help health care providers give the best medical care possible, not as a marketing tool of insurance companies,” said Jerry Sheehan, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Washington.

The ACLU said it is especially important to put these protections in place now, when the legislature is considering adoption of a patients’ Bill of Rights.

“Protecting privacy should be an important component of a patients’ Bill of Rights,” Sheehan said.

House Bill 2901 is sponsored by Representative Dow Constantine, and Senate Bill 6684 is sponsored by Senator Pat Thibaudeau. Both measures were introduced in the state legislature today.

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