HIT privacy bill heard in Public Health Committee

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An important bill, SB 368, had a public hearing Friday in the Public Health Committee. The bill would require HITE CT, our state’s developing health information exchange, to get patient consent before sharing any medical records on the exchange. Termed opt-in, this privacy policy has been adopted by all our surrounding states and is working successfully to facilitate patient-centered care. In those states, more than nine out of ten patients agree to share their information. Vermont recently switched from an opt-out policy to opt-in. ,. HITE-CT’s Board members adopted a controversial opt-out privacy policy in a contentious vote. The opt-out policy, where all information is shared by default unless the patient exercises an as-yet-undeveloped process to decline, would require every provider to “segment” or tag all information in every file that relates to ten sensitive conditions, such as HIV and behavioral health, and accept liability for getting that right. HITE CT’s own evaluation study recently found public opinion in CT supporting opt-in over opt-out. The Public Health committee heard from consumers, advocates and providers who support the patient-centered opt-in policy.