WASHINGTONThe Clinton Administration soon will propose a federal law aimed at protecting the privacy of medical records. The law would allow disclosure of medical records only for reasons of health care. For example, if an employer gained access to an employees records during the claims process, the company would not be allowed to use the information in any way that would affect the employees job, such as in considering promotions or assignments.
The proposed legislation would allow patients to receive copies of their medical records, give them the chance to correct mistakes in the records, and allow them to see who has been requesting their records.
Further, the law would hold insurers to the same disclosure standards as doctors and hospitals. Finally, anyone who disclosed medical records improperly or who used subterfuge to obtain the records would be subject to criminal penalties.