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AIDS Action Committee Applauds Legislature for Taking Action to Protect Patient Privacy Within New Electronic Medical Records System
Date:8/4/2008

Measures on privacy and data security set foundation for future systems

BOSTON, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (AAC) commends state lawmakers for passing legislation that includes privacy and data security protections within a statewide electronic medical records system, including notice of unauthorized disclosures of health information, providing patients an audit trail of who has accessed their records, and requiring that participation in an electronic medical record system be based on patient permission.

Vital privacy and data security measures suggested by AIDS Action Committee were included in the final version of the cost-containment bill, S2863, An Act to Promote Cost Containment, Transparency and Efficiency in the Delivery of Quality Health Care. These privacy protections will improve the system for all patients who will use it, most especially those with HIV/AIDS and other sensitive health information.

"The privacy provisions included in this legislation provide an excellent foundation for addressing privacy and data security in an electronic medical record system," said Rebecca Haag, President and CEO, AAC. "The privacy provisions were adopted because of the vital leadership of Senate President Therese Murray, Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senators Richard Moore and Harriette Chandler, as well as Representatives Byron Rushing and Patricia Walrath," she added. "We look forward to continuing to work with these leaders and the legislature to make sure the Commonwealth strengthens privacy protections to enhance public trust in an electronic medical record system."

Electronic medical records are a fundamental part of health information technology systems and serve as a central repository for clinical information. They are expected to improve care and limit administrative costs. This legislation establishes a program for the adoption of electronic health records across the state by 2015. The privacy provisions will establish the initial baseline of privacy and data security provisions for this system.

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc., (AAC), New England's first and largest AIDS organization, is dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those already infected. AAC provides free confidential services to men and women already living with HIV/AIDS, as well as conducts extensive educational and prevention outreach to those at risk of infection. AAC runs the only statewide AIDS Hotline (1.800.235.2331), Hepatitis Hotline (1.888.443.4372) and Pharmacy Access Hotline (1.800.988.5209). All Hotlines offer support in Spanish and in English. Free and confidential rapid HIV testing and counseling is available at AAC's downtown Boston location and at its MALE Center in Boston's South End neighborhood. AAC also advocates for effective science-based prevention programs. More information is available at http://www.aac.org and at AAC's blog at blog.aac.org.


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SOURCE AIDS Action Committee
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