AIDS Action Committee Applauds Legislature for Taking Action to Protect Patient Privacy within New Electronic Medical Records System
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (AAC) commends state lawmakers for passing legislation that includes privacy and data security protections within a statewide electronic medical records system, including notice of unauthorized disclosures of health information, providing patients an audit trail of who has accessed their records, and requiring that participation in an electronic medical record system be based on patient permission.
Vital privacy and data security measures suggested by AIDS Action Committee were included in the final version of the cost-containment bill, S2863, An Act to Promote Cost Containment, Transparency and Efficiency in the Delivery of Quality Health Care. These privacy protections will improve the system for all patients who will use it, most especially those with HIV/AIDS and other sensitive health information.
“The privacy provisions included in this legislation provide an excellent foundation for addressing privacy and data security in an electronic medical record system,” said Rebecca Haag, President and CEO, AAC. “The privacy provisions were adopted because of the vital leadership of Senate President Therese Murray, Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senators Richard Moore and Harriette Chandler, as well as Representatives Byron Rushing and Patricia Walrath,” she added. “We look forward to continuing to work with these leaders and the legislature to make sure the Commonwealth strengthens privacy protections to enhance public trust in an electronic medical record system.”
Electronic medical records are a fundamental part of health information technology systems and serve as a central repository for clinical information. They are expected to improve care and limit administrative costs. This legislation establishes a program for the adoption of electronic health records across the state by 2015. The privacy provisions will establish the initial baseline of privacy and data security provisions for this system.
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. Learn more at www.aac.org.