For Immediate Release
May 30, 2017
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom to Congress: Prohibit New Version of National Patient ID
President Trump Signs Appropriations Bill That Will Provide Federal Funding for ‘Patient-Matching Strategy’
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Proponents of a national medical records system had something to cheer about earlier this month when President Donald Trump signed into law a “National Patient ID” strategy as part of the 2017 appropriations bill. Meanwhile, those who fight for patient privacy and health freedom have all the more reason to forge ahead.
Conveniently, the language authorizing federal assistance to create a national patient-matching strategy, similar to the Unique Patient Identifier that Trump’s presidential opponent Hillary Clinton once championed, appears to have had little to no public discussion, and most won’t notice it unless they read the clarifying language in the report attached to the bill.
Now, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) is alerting Americans as well as Congress about the dangers of the law and how it will impact all patients’ privacy and health freedom.
“On May 5, Republicans ended the prohibition that Congressman Ron Paul put into place 19 years ago,” said CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase. “It’s now called a ‘patient-matching strategy,’ and our tax dollars can be used to build it. The language is deceptive because health IT proponents want you to believe they’re doing their best to match patients with their health information, touting false benefits like ease of access and even patient safety. But this is the new version of a National Patient ID system, which will enable tracking, profiling, linking and unconsented research on patients and their doctors.”
Brase shared in her weekly Commentary that in April proponents asked Congress to help build a national patient-matching system—a way around the longstanding prohibition on a National Patient ID. Congress passed the bill with the following wording and funding designation, Brase reported, noting that the “exception language” below in bold is key:
“For expenses necessary for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, including grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for the development and advancement of interoperable health information technology, $60,367,000. … None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to promulgate or adopt any final standard under section 1173(b) of the Social Security Act providing for, or providing for the assignment of, a unique health identifier for an individual (except in an individual’s capacity as an employer or health care provider), until legislation is enacted specifically approving the standard.”
“This exception language means that millions of dollars in federal funds could be used to help employers and health care providers build a system that allows tracking of patients wherever they go and whomever they see,” Brase said. “It could mean the development of electronic medical record systems that do not allow patients to receive care unless they provide a detailed roster of private information that can be matched across systems.”
Patients who don’t want to be tracked or profiled have the option to find third-party-free, direct-payment doctors inside CCHF’s initiative, The Wedge of Health Freedom (www.JointheWedge.com).
“There’s no tracking, no national ID numbers, no linking all your medical records together in The Wedge,” Brase said. “We are building The Wedge to transform the entire health care system back to freedom, which will restore simplicity, affordability and confidentiality.”
Nearly 200 Wedge practices, where patients can find affordable, patient-centered care, are located in 44 states and listed online.
CCHF is a national patient-centered health freedom organization existing to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights. For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Also view the media page for CCHF here. For more about The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.
For more information or to interview Twila Brase of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.