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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Celebrity Medical Records Hacked: Are You at Risk?

This is a part of our new laws that never really made sense to me. I don't understand why we have a need to keep medical information private. The only real reason that I can think of to have legislation concerning this is that people who have AIDS don't want to be discriminated against. I have always thought that having other people know your medical history was a good thing. . . especially in cases where you might be unconscious and in need of medical care. After all don't they have those medical ID bracelets for just that purpose? What difference does it make if I have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and other people know it? It seems more like people knowing if I have blond or brunette hair (not something that is really private). If I have cancer, I would not mind if people knew. If I was hospitalized, what difference would it make if other people knew I was there. But alas, this is where we are for whatever legislative reason. And everyone seems to be in agreement that people shouldn't know that you have asthma or seasonal allergies because that would be an invasion of privacy. This article plays on the fears of other people actively trying to get that particular information without your consent. The horror.

Celebrity Medical Records Hacked: Are You at Risk?
By Jessica Ryen Doyle

It’s not surprising that hospital employees would be interested in the medical records of celebrities like Maria Shriver, Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears and George Clooney.

But famous names may not be the only ones whose medical files are being snooped through, according to two medical experts.

Essentially, all medical records — including the average Joe's — are up for sale to large corporations, research facilities and drug companies, said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder and chairwoman of Patient Privacy Rights, a non-profit advocacy group in Austin, Texas.

By signing a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act consent form, she said, you not only are giving your doctor and insurance company access to your medical records, but you may be giving them permission to sell your information, as well.

"The privacy rule requires health care providers to give patients a notice of privacy practices to provide them with important information on how their health information may be used and disclosed, as well as what their rights are with respect to their information and how the individual can exercise these rights," says Linda Sanches, senior adviser for HIPAA Privacy Outreach, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Continue reading the article here.

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