As a vendor of user-specific biodynamic authentication software, the
area and concern regarding patient privacy is one of continuing
intrigue. On one hand, health insurers in the private sector
have a defined economic interest in unlimited health information access.
The individual who enjoys the protection of state-imposed restrictions
has legitimate concerns over the misuse or wrongful access to his or her
personal data. Like any coin, there is validity to both sides.
The right to privacy is applied broadly, and I must admit, from a
conservative viewpoint, I support the concept. And, as the courts have
upheld the principle, it strikes me that the only way to accomplish the
objective without a "Big Brother" mandate is to theoretically "compel"
voluntary agreement and compliance. This may not be as difficult as it
The first step would be to establish reasonable criteria for information
inclusion. The groups that could most simply initiate these steps would
be the private health insurers. As they join the association of unified
health information providers, an association likely to be created in the
not too distant future, their enrollment and application forms for new
business can simply be modified to permit this provision. As agreement
would be voluntary, no foul, no harm. Meanwhile, common architecture for
data storage can be independently developed, or insurers can get a
leg up on cost management by identifying with a program in development,
like Microsoft Corp.'s, and plan accordingly.
Where the compelling initiative should come from is obvious. Yet, while
the government must drive the conformity, it must not proceed in a manner
considered as violating state's or individual's rights. Therefore, again
the solution is obvious ... a controlled substance bill that would
compel the registration of all users, or those who would elect to be a
beneficiary of a prescription of such substances, to be or become
registered on this national database. The inclusion of a prescription-abuse watchdog for controlled substance prescription abuse or fraud
could readily justify the actions. Federal healthcare fraud is ample
incentive to require any and all Medicare, Medicaid or other federally sponsored or paid health benefit program, including the VA and Defense Department, to
include voluntary enrollment, without which federally listed
controlled substances, which include most pain killers, would not be
covered nor prescribed for non-agreeing participants.
And there you have it; a simple road map to eliminate most of the hassle
among states and legal minds, alike. The federal savings from Medicare
fraud alone might fund most of the programs costs. Finding a
champion to sponsor such a bill in Congress is the real hurdle, but far
less difficult than finding one to champion a bill compelling and
mandating participation for everyone.
Jeff FeathersonSmart AdvisorsIndianapolisTo submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.