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18 March 2010

Joe Smith: Patient Privacy Act and Health Insurance for Adopted Children

House Bill 1382, sponsored by Representative Doug Ervin, establishes the Missouri Patient Privacy Act.  This bill extends privacy protection of your personal medical records so that no one, without written consent, can gain access to your information.  This bill is especially important in the age of electronic record storage when your information can be sent with the push of a button.

This act prohibits the disclosure of patient-specific health information to outsiders.  That list includes: any employer, a public or private payer, employee or agent of a state department or agency without written consent of the patient -- excluding information submitted as part of a medical claim. Health information may, however, be disclosed to a health insurer, labor benefit trust, employer, state employee, the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, or the MO HealthNet Division within the Department of Social Services (which would be in connection with the person's official duties). The substitute does not prohibit disclosure of personal health information consistent with federal law and does not require health care providers to remove information when it is being disclosed.

This consent bill, passed last Wednesday, was passed with an overwhelming majority and incurs no impact on state funds.

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