Think Your Medical/Financial Records Are Safe?

000Once upon a time I suffered the delusion that my personal medical records were a secret –  shared only with my doctor, my health insurance carrier and my family.   Unfortunately, all fairy tales do not have a happy ending.

My husband, assuming he would live forever, nixed the idea of increasing his life insurance – that is until he was diagnosed with cancer.  Accepting he wasn’t as invincible as he thought, he asked me to inquire about increasing his  coverage.  It was only in a  conversation with our insurance agent that the fairy tail died.  Not only did our life insurance agent know my husband had cancer, before I even mentioned it, he had full details on his surgery and chemo/radiation treatment as well as his prognosis.  When I questioned him about this knowledge, all he would tell me is that his company subscribed to some medical sharing database.

Anyone who has ever been to a doctor is aware of HIPPA – that “privacy protecting” law you assume will safeguard your medical history.  My husband had to give every doctor and medical facility he visited written permission to share his medical care with me – his wife, his caregiver –  yet they were giving it out like Halloween candy to anyone who asked.   

In fact, there are dozens of “others”  legally allowed to access our medical records for a variety of reasons, either by request or by purchase.  In some cases, we provide permission for their access when we sign all those forms in the doctors office – its called “fine print.”    For some,  permission isn’t even necessary. 

Now we’re faced with ObamaCare.  We’ve already seen what the federal government is capable of with our tax records so you can only imagine the damage that can be caused by a federal medical database –  A federal database  operated by the IRS that contains everything you say to your doctor, any illness or disease you may have or had, whether or not you own a gun and, a database which will  more than likely,  at some future date, contain your personal DNA records –  giving them access to genetic abnormalities  you didn’t know existed.

In addition to your medical records, the HHS database, ObamaCare’s NSA,  will contain all of your personal and “private” financial information, along with your address and the names and social security numbers of all family members.  This information will, according to ObamaCare, be used daily by “Navigators”  described as community and nonprofit groups who will “refer” you for further assistance as they deem necessary.  Overweight, smoke, drink more than the government thinks you should – no problem, these navigators will be there to dictate solutions!

Let’s face it, our medical records are no longer safe or private and ObamaCare’s forced electronic medical records database will only make the problem worse.

It was reported – only after a lawsuit was filed that –  IRS agents  stole more than 60 million medical records of more than 10 million Americans.   And, even though they were in violation of HIPPA laws,  thinking themselves above the law, have refused to return the records.   

We should also not take lightly the fact that the  Veterans Administration “lost” the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of around 26.5 million active duty troops and veterans when a laptop in the custody of a V.A. data analyst was “misplaced.” 

TRICARE which handles health insurance for the federal government reported that its backup computer files for about 5 million patients were stolen from a private contractor.  Howard University Hospital also reported that more than 34,000 patient records were compromised when a private contractor’s laptop was stolen. The Bronx HealthCare Network lost 1.7 million records to theft, along with AvMed in Florida – 1.2 million; Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Tennessee –  1 million; Sutter Medical Foundation –  close to one million; the South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts – 800,000; HealthNet of California –  1.9 million; Nemours Foundation in Florida –  1.1 million; Utah Dept. of Health –  780,000; and the Eisenhower Medical Center – 514,000.

A study by the Ponemon Institute found that 94 percent of polled healthcare organizations have already suffered breaches that exposed patient records, a 65% increase since 2010!  And less than half of those polled were even confident they could prevent future breaches.  A U.S. Dept of Health’s office of civil rights 2012 report found that in three years nearly 21 million patients had become the victims of medical record data breaches.

The consequences  of medical identity theft is serious, hard to detect and harder to resolve.  One of the most common uses of stolen medical identity is to receive medical services.  The thieves may also use your identity to obtain money by falsifying claims for medical services as well as falsify your medical records to support those claims which could prove deadly if you suffer from some serious disease  or have drug allergies.   And you already know that hackers can completely destroy your life with your entire financial history at their beck and call.

Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the Center for Democracy and Technology,  a Washington-based Internet advocacy group, said the number of incidents [medical theft]  is growing with the increased use of digital health records.

This growing problem puts a spotlight on ObamaCare.  But, despite all the thefts,  HHS is pushing hospitals and doctors to adopt electronic health records, some through bribery,  while at the same time,  punishing those  providers who fail to properly secure their patients’ records.  

HHS’s philosophy is that  the benefits of electronic health records  far outweighs the risks.  Of course, they are not the necessarily the one’s suffering the risk. 


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment for “Think Your Medical/Financial Records Are Safe?

  1. July 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    The problem is Lobbyist. The Insurance companies have legal access to your records because lawmakers give them exemptions. If we don’t allow their money to influence politics we don’t have these loop holes. Obama care or not

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *