Patient Privacy Rights and Private Hospitals
by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish
by Bill Rounds:
Living Trusts Protect Financial Privacy
To Protect Medical Privacy
is among the most private personal information. New healthcare
laws in the US essentially require doctors to make all of their
records electronic and store them in government databases. This
poses a serious threat to patient privacy rights. There is one way
to find private hospitals where your information will not be entered
into US databases and you may even get better health care for much
Patient Privacy Rights
medical information housed in one massive database makes it one
of the most lucrative targets for hackers. It will not only contain
health information (potentially worth its weight in digital gold
to the highly ethical pharmaceutical industry), but it will also
include demographic information, like race, ethnicity, primary language,
and gender. This information is golden to marketers. And that says
nothing of its value to identity thieves.
databases are well known as extremely
poorly protected. They arent even capable of protecting
classified and top secret material. I hate to think how well they
will protect our medical data. It may only be a matter of time before
our medical histories are public information.
Bound To Be Abuse
The law permits
use of the data for clinical
research, even if the subject objects to the use of their data.
Carolina sheriffs have already asked to browse prescription
records to look for potential pain medication abusers. With even
more data available, who knows what kinds of crimes they think your
medical records might be evidence of.
About 12 million
people will have to have access to such a health system, from heart
surgeons to grocery store pharmacists. It is inevitable that one
of those 12 million will be able to accidentally or purposefully
leak massive amounts of data.
And, if the
US social services system becomes anything like the UK system, the
government will be able to take away peoples kids for being
or for a learning
disability. Having all medical records searchable means that
many more innocent people with unfortunate genes could be the target
of overzealous social workers.
Patient Privacy Rights
medical procedures or conditions from showing up in US medical record
databases, use offshore medical facilities. Seeking treatment in
private hospitals in other countries is often called medical
tourism and can be far more beneficial than just protecting
privacy. Many hospitals in places like New Zealand, Thailand, India,
Mexico and Costa Rica, cater to wealthy foreigners. In many cases
the doctors are trained in the US. They offer as good, or better,
health care than any US facilities and they are usually 50% to 90%
cheaper, including all travel expenses like airfare and hotel.
medical care abroad, be sure to do extensive research. Although
some private hospitals may cater to wealthy travelers, not all hospitals
in those countries will be the same. Some will offer substandard
care in unhealthy facilities.
countries will not protect patients from medical malpractice, like
they do in the US, and pharmaceutical companies may not be liable
for injuries from medications like they are in the US. Also, medical
information in foreign countries may not be protected as private.
Yourself From Risks
There are several
companies that help arrange offshore medical visits to make sure
you select the best facilities and doctors. There are also voluntary
organizations that certify medical facilities such as the JCI
to promote quality care. A considerable amount of research should
be done before seeking medical treatment away from home.
treatment abroad can help protect patient privacy rights. Information
about those visits will not be automatically entered into the US
electronic health record database. Additionally, seeking care offshore
can be far less expensive, it can be as good, or better than US
care, and you may even have access to many treatments, drugs and
procedures that are not permitted in the US. Dont forget to
check out the book How
To Vanish for more ways to protect your privacy.
with permission from How to
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties.
© 2012 How
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