How many times have you been asked to sign a HIPAA Privacy Agreement when you visited a doctor, hospital, dentist, urgent care or any other medical facility? If you read through the agreement, it says that you have the right to privacy and that no one can access your medical records without your consent.
According to the US Department of Health & Human Services:
“The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.”
“The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities and their business associates to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information.”
If you live in Pennsylvania and have school age children, you can kiss your HIPAA privacy protection goodbye. According to a recent report by the Home School Legal Defense Association:
“As of December 31, 2014, Pennsylvania will have a new law that eliminates the confidentiality of children’s medical records in certain cases. Senate Bill 27, signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on October 27, 2014, requires ‘certified medical practitioners’ to provide the local social services agency with medical information on a child when an assessment for services or a child abuse investigation is being conducted or when the family has been accepted for needed services. Certified medical practitioners include licensed physicians, licensed physician’s assistants, and certified registered nurse practitioners. Information that must be provided includes: (1) relevant medical information regarding the child’s prior and current health, (2) information from a subsequent examination, (3) information regarding treatment of the child, and (4) relevant medical information regarding any other child in the household that may contribute to the assessment, investigation, or provision of services to any of the children. Contrary to traditional privacy standards prohibiting the release of a child’s medical records to a third party without parental consent, no such consent is needed for the release of this information to the county agency under the new law.”
“The new law also provides for the flow of information from social services to medical personnel both when it is not requested and when it is. In circumstances which negatively affect the health of a child, the county agency must take the initiative to notify the child’s primary care provider of (1) the final status of an investigation if the report of child abuse was ‘indicated’ or ‘founded,’ (2) information on an ‘unfounded’ report if the medical practitioner made the report, and (3) any service to be provided to the family by the county. Additionally, in instances when a certified medical practitioner providing care to the child or the child’s primary care physician requests information about an investigation, social services must provide all of the information enumerated above, as well as the identity of other medical practitioners who have treated the child. The law says that this is to enable the practitioner to obtain the child’s medical records for coordination of care between medical practitioners.”
“While in some cases Home School Legal Defense Association advises members to provide social workers with the name of their family physician, there is nothing in the law that requires that they do so. The intrusive effects of the new law serve as a warning against voluntarily providing this information to social workers unless to do so would resolve the investigation in the family’s favor.”
Note that the law doesn’t stop at just child abuse cases but it includes any services provided by the county. Some counties have social services that include help with bills, food, housing and special education, among others. Anyone with a child receiving any aid or help from a county agency will no longer have the right to keep their child’s medical information private and protected. The parents don’t even have to be notified that the medical information is being shared with county officials. And it’s not just the child receiving the services but county officials will also have access to all of the medical records of every other child in the same house.
The law was passed under the guise of helping to protect children who are abused, but in the long run the law is another intrusion into a person’s privacy. Under Obamacare, a number of federal agencies already have the right to access your medical records without your knowledge or approval.
Inch by inch and step by step we are losing all rights to privacy in this nation. If you use the internet to do any shopping you are being monitored. If you have a member or savers card for any store you are being monitored. If you pay for items with a credit card you are being monitored. If you use a smart phone you are being monitored by what you access and your location. Many large cities are installing cameras to monitor traffic and crime.
Virtually everything we do and everywhere we go our privacy is being invaded and we are being monitored. At the rate Americans are being monitored in so many ways, it wouldn’t surprise me to see monitors built into toilets to let the utilities and government know every time you go to the bathroom.
So if you live in Pennsylvania and look to the county or state for any aid or help, be advised that you will be giving up the right of privacy to your children’s medical records. If anyone accuses you of anything and the county gets involved, you lost your right of privacy to protect your children’s medical records.