Access to health records bolstered for employers
Medical privacy has been protected for years by the most unlikely guardians: insurance companies.
Now, the Texas Legislature has become the first in the nation to force insurance companies to pass along sensitive employee health records to their companies, a practice permitted under federal law.
Starting Jan. 1, companies became entitled to receive a list of their employees and family members â€” identified by number or some other code, but not by name â€” whose health bills exceeded $15,000 during the previous year.
Employers also can obtain the diagnoses, dates of service, amounts paid, prognoses, future costs and treatment plans for each.
The law’s supporters say they need the information to get a clear snapshot of health expenses, while critics fear it’s an erosion of patient privacy.
Companies can also obtain the detailed health information on those who have been precertified for hospital stays of five or more days, according to the bill that sailed through the Texas House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last summer.
Full story – Houston Chronicle