December 7, 2003
When the doctor calls these days, she has to leave cryptic messages on your answering machine about those test results. The hospital may not alert your minister if you're banged up in a car accident. And, please, back away from the pharmacy counter while they help that other customer. Welcome to the hassles of the new world of medical privacy. Such measures are well-intentioned, if clumsy, efforts to stop snooping. They stem from federal rules enacted in April - rules the Bush administration touted as a giant step for safeguarding personal medical data stored increasingly on computer.
April 13, 2001 |
The Bush administration decided to retain far-reaching medical privacy rules drafted by President Bill Clinton, a decision that won praise from privacy advocates but stunned and dismayed officials of hospitals and health insurance plans. "I believe that we must protect both vital health-care services and the right of every American to have confidence that his or her personal medical records will remain private," President Bush said yesterday. The rules aim to ensure that doctors and hospital staffers do not pass individual medical records to third parties, such as insurers or health-product marketers, without a patient's consent.
March 10, 2005 |
It was a moment right out of courtroom hell. Judge Theodore A. McKee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit scratched his head in frustration and asked the government's lawyer to explain again who, exactly, is entitled to see a patient's private medical records under federal law? Charles W. Scarborough, the U.S. Department of Justice lawyer, hesitated for a second and McKee pounced: "If you're not sure what the rights of patients are, how is Miss Williams down the street, at age 89, supposed to know?"
December 12, 1994 |
A SEPTA manager who called himself John Doe won a $125,000 judgment against SEPTA last week for violation of his constitutional right of privacy. A former top SEPTA administrator learned the employee has AIDS when she reviewed a list of employee prescription drug claims. This was the first case in which the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which represented the SEPTA manager, defended someone whose AIDS diagnosis was revealed through health-insurance benefits reported to an employer.
October 30, 1999 |
President Clinton established tough new rules yesterday to protect the privacy of personal medical records that are stored electronically, but experts warned that dangerous gaps remain in patients' privacy. Under Clinton's new executive order, doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers may not release such personal medical information for purposes unrelated to treatment or payment without the patient's permission. It also requires health plans to inform patients how the information was used, and creates criminal and civil penalties for misusing medical information.
April 11, 2003
Imagine this scene next fall: Monday Night Football reporter Melissa Stark is poised to report on the quarterback's injury - a body slam just witnessed by millions of TV viewers. But then hulking host John Madden breaks in breathlessly and announces, "Holy cow, Melissa, that information is private by federal law!" That's as silly as this potential scene at your family doctor's office: Staff clearing away cutesy bulletin-board photos and community news items about patients.
May 25, 2014 |
"The overall picture is of a contractual environment that runs roughshod over players' rights to make their own medical decisions, doctors' ethical duty of undivided loyalty to their patients, and players' rights to medical privacy. M. Gregg Bloche, author of "The Hippocratic Myth"
February 14, 2000 |
The need for privacy in medical care has been recognized since Hippocrates. But large for-profit corporate medical enterprises are throwing aside 21/2 millennia of good sense and tradition by drastically diminishing doctor-patient confidentiality. Many people delay getting medical care because they feel ashamed, embarrassed, even guilty. Knowing the doctor will keep matters confidential helps people obtain care, despite their misgivings. In psychotherapy, with patients revealing their innermost feelings and fantasies, the need for strict confidentiality is even more crucial, the Supreme Court recognized in a 1996 decision.
September 5, 2007
You don't need to pass college history to learn a great deal from all of the tragic mistakes made prior to the nation's worst campus massacre. An exhaustive report on the April 16 Virginia Tech killings, issued last week by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, provides the equivalent of a course syllabus for the study of what to do, and not do, in similar life-and-death circumstances. It's the work of a review panel that included former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. In its detailed recommendations, the panel sets out reforms that could take years and millions of dollars to achieve.
January 5, 1999 |
After emerging from a coma in a Florida hospital last month, Joe DiMaggio let the world know that he didn't care if his illness was a big story. He told his doctors that he was angry that the most intimate details of his cancer, coma and pneumonia were out there for all to read. When someone famous whom we like falls ill or dies, it's only natural that we want to read about it. Doesn't DiMaggio see how important it is for us to worry about him? Why, we ask, won't he let us eavesdrop on his doctors, flip through his chart, peer into his hospital room?