Press Statement From Health Care For All's Executive Director Amy Rosenthal Regarding Key Legislation To Protect Patient Confidentiality Ready to be Signed by Governor Baker

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

(Boston, MA) - “Health Care For All (HCFA) is very grateful to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate for passing this important legislation that will protect privacy for patients seeking sensitive health care services. An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (S. 2296) has been enacted by both chambers and it is now at the Governor’s desk.

“Health insurers typically send Summary of Payments (SOP) notices detailing the type and cost of medical services to the primary subscriber each time any enrollee on the plan accesses care. Confidential health information may be inadvertently disclosed on an SOP, violating the basic right to privacy for anyone enrolled as a dependent on another’s policy. This is a particular concern for young adults, minors and spouses insured as dependents.

“This legislation establishes a number of mechanisms to ensure confidentiality. These protections include sending notices directly to the patient rather than to the primary policyholder; allowing patients to choose their preferred address and method for receiving SOPs; providing only general information about certain sensitive services or visits; and providing patients the option to opt-out of receiving SOPs if no payment is due.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the support and leadership of House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette Chandler, Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Kate Hogan and Attorney General Maura Healey. The Protecting Access to Confidential Health Care (PATCH) Alliance, a broad-based group of over 40 provider, advocacy, and community-based organizations concerned with maintaining confidentiality in health insurer communications with their members, organized support for the bill alongside the MA Association of Health Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA.

“HCFA looks forward to Governor Baker signing An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (S. 2296) so that every patient in the Commonwealth feels safe to use the health care services they need and deserve.”

 

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Health Care For All is a Massachusetts nonprofit advocacy organization working to create a health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us.