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Medical Privacy

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NEWS
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.
NEWS
April 13, 2001 | Daily News Wire Services
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.
NEWS
March 10, 2005 | By Virginia A. Smith INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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?"
NEWS
December 12, 1994 | by Mary Flannery, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
October 30, 1999 | By Mike Hudson, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
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.
NEWS
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.
SPORTS
May 25, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
"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"
NEWS
February 14, 2000 | BY LAWRENCE D. BLUM
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
January 5, 1999 | by Kenneth W. Goodmans
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?
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ARTICLES BY DATE
SPORTS
May 25, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
"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"
SPORTS
March 26, 2012 | By DAVID MURPHY, Daily News Staff Writer
ONE OF THE unfortunate developments in our decibel-driven age has been the replacement of legitimate public discourse with a supersized batch of Stupid. So when Chase Utley chose Sunday's much-anticipated question-and-answer session with reporters as a platform to express displeasure with the mass hysteria that has accompanied his monthlong absence from the lineup, it was difficult for any of the assembled media to take justifiable offense. Utley's mentality is simple: I am going to do everything within my power to ensure that I am able to step onto a baseball field and perform at the highest possible level, and I would appreciate it if you would just trust me to do that.
BUSINESS
July 10, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
The last time I told you about Walter Spencer, the Center City resident stood accused of being the cause of his own grief. I'm back today to report that he was apparently the victim of a red herring - and that the Walter Spencer mystery remains an open case. Before I share the latest in this medical-privacy whodunit, let me bring you up to date. Back in May, Spencer had raised questions about a drug-company mailing that suggested a breach of his privacy rights. He had received an eight-page brochure pitching the drug Abilify with the slogan, "when an antidepressant alone isn't enough.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
February 22, 2007 | By Chris Mondics INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
The nation's two family detention centers for illegal immigrants - one in Berks County, Pa. - are plagued by problems including inadequate medical care, lack of privacy, and abusive behavior by staff toward detainees, two advocacy groups alleged in a report being released today. Of the two centers, the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility in Leesport has the more humane conditions, but even there detainees reported harassment by staff including the threat of separating parents from their children, the report said.
NEWS
January 6, 2006
In cases stretching back years, the federal courts have upheld Americans' fundamental right to keep prying eyes from obtaining access to their most personal health information. Why, then, have the courts of late been unable, or unwilling, to plug the biggest potential lapse in patient privacy - one triggered by a Bush administration policy? That's a question of national importance as well as local interest, since the legal battle over patient privacy is being played out in federal court in Philadelphia.
NEWS
March 10, 2005 | By Virginia A. Smith INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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?"
NEWS
April 3, 2004 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday upheld changes to the federal medical-privacy law that advocates for patients say took away individuals' ability to control use of their personal medical information. U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ruled that Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had not acted arbitrarily last April in implementing the new provisions of the federal law known as HIPAA - the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
NEWS
February 17, 2004
Was it only April? That's when Bush administration officials were touting their new federal privacy rules as a major advance in safeguarding Americans' personal medical data. By winter, though, Attorney General John Ashcroft's Justice Department was battling to obtain the medical records of patients in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and elsewhere who underwent a controversial late-term abortion. Justice lawyers offered this startling rationale for their records request: Given "modern medical practice" and the involvement of third-party health insurers, they said, "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential.
NEWS
February 13, 2004 | By Stacey Burling INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Hahnemann University Hospital is among a group of hospitals fighting efforts by the Justice Department to obtain the medical records of patients who underwent a type of late-term abortion. Hahnemann contends divulging the records would violate the medical privacy of its patients. And the hospital, in a court filing, accused the Bush administration of "vindictive and mean-spirited" tactics in seeking the records. The Justice Department says it needs the records to weigh doctors' assertion that the procedure is medically necessary.
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