“No privacy, no peace” could be a slogan we’ll hear a lot during the 111th Congress when it convenes next year.
Members of both houses of Congress have already received a letter from a healthcare coalition warning legislators who are considering information technology booster bills against deviating from the status quo of current privacy rules and laws. Meanwhile, a privacy rights organization sent an opposing letter to House and Senate leaders asking them to insist on the restoration of privacy protections they say were eroded under the Bush administration.
Mary Grealy, president of the Washington-based Healthcare Leadership Council and the Confidentiality Coalition it organized, sent her letter warning that “we are extremely worried that some privacy provisions that have been proposed would have a negative impact on the quality and safety of our healthcare system and counteract the positive benefits of HIT and any economic stimulus effect.” The letter was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate President Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and copied to all members of Congress. Healthcare Leadership Council members include leaders of many of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as pharmacy benefits management companies, payers and a few providers.