AAPS Sues Over HIPPA, Claims Privacy Regs Will Risk Lives – Association of American Physicians and Surgeons – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

AAPS Sues Over HIPPA, Claims Privacy Regs Will Risk Lives – Association of American Physicians and Surgeons – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – Brief Article

Tucson, Ariz.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is filing a lawsuit to halt implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act set to go into effect April 14, 2003.

Coinciding with the suit, AAPS also released findings from a national survey of physicians showing virtually unanimous support for halting the privacy regulations.

“The rules may create a massive federal mandate that requires every doctor to share patients’ records with the federal government without patient consent,” Kathryn Serkes, AAPS public affairs counsel, said. “Even more alarming is that patients may be refused medical treatment if they won’t consent to disclosure.”

Of paramount concern to the group and the physicians it represents is that a patient’s privacy could be violated and the requirements could destroy patient-doctor confidentiality.

AAPS said there’s already a problem within the physician community with doctors withholding patient information at the patient’s request. According to the AAPS’ poll, which sampled 344 physicians nationwide, nearly 78 percent of physicians said they have withheld information from a patient’s record due to privacy concerns. The poll did point out that only 19 percent admitted lying to protect a patient’s privacy, but 74 percent said they withheld information for that reason.

“Patients are withholding information, and doctors are lying because of privacy concerns,” Serkes said. “The obvious conclusion is that these rules will only exacerbate the situation to the point of distorted, incomplete and potentially dangerous medical records becoming the norm. Physicians’ ethics will be further challenged – the choice between government compliance and lying for a patient.

“While masquerading as patient protection, the rules would actually eliminate any last shred of confidentiality and risk lives,” Serkes added.

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