FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13 Leading Health, Consumer Organizations Urge Congress to Include Strong Health Information Technology Provisions in Economic Recovery Bill
Groups Hail Disparities Language, Urge Congress to Prohibit Sale of Patients' Information for Marketing
WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 23, 2009 — The Consumer Partnership for eHealth — a non-partisan group of consumer, labor and patient organizations representing more than 127 million people — is urging Congress to advance the adoption and use of private and secure health information technology (HIT) in the economic recovery legislation. The Consumer Partnership sent a strongly worded letter to Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in support of these provisions. Organized by the National Partnership for Women & Families, the letter was signed by AARP, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Center for Democracy and Technology, Center for Information Therapy, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, The Children’s Partnership, Consumers Union, Health Care For All, National Association of People with AIDS, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Partnership for Women & Families and SEIU.
“This bill can help us advance a high performing health care system that enhances patient care and earns consumer trust,” said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness. “We were pleased yesterday when the Committee adopted Representative Donna Christensen’s (VI) amendment regarding the disparities in quality and access that pervade our health care system; we look forward to working with Members to strengthen that provision by requiring electronic systems to collect data regarding race, ethnicity, primary language and gender. This would help us make great strides in reducing harmful disparities in care.”
“We are, however, concerned that the Committee accepted an amendment that would weaken the marketing restrictions in the original bill,” Ness added. “We will work with the leadership to ensure that patients’ private health information cannot be used to sell them products and services without their consent.”
The letter urges “a foundation of privacy and security protections that will help consumers trust that their personal information will not be inappropriately shared or used.” It lauds the House bill for advancing the adoption of HIT in ways that will improve patient care and health outcomes, and improving federal privacy and security law to guard against inappropriate uses and disclosures of patients’ health information. It also commends the legislation for:
- Targeting spending wisely so that incentives for HIT adoption and use are tied to advancing higher quality, more efficient patient care; and
- Ensuring that governance of existing and emerging federal exchange initiatives, as well as the adoption of standards and certification criteria, is transparent and responsive to the public interest.
Click here for a copy of the letter.
The Consumer Partnership for eHealth (CPeH) is a coalition of more than 50 consumer and patient groups led by the National Partnership for Women & Families.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.