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Consumer Watchdog Calls on Google to Cease Lobbying Effort to Allow Sale of Patient Medical Records; Urges Congress to Adopt Privacy Protections in Economic Stimulus Bill
Date:1/27/2009

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The non-partisan Consumer Watchdog called on Google today to cease a rumored lobbying effort aimed at allowing the sale of electronic medical records in the current version of the Economic Stimulus legislation. Consumer Watchdog called on Congress to remove loopholes in the ban on the sale of medical records and include other privacy protections absent from the current bill such as giving patients the right to an audit detailing who had accessed their medical records and how the records were used.

Reportedly Google is pushing for the provisions so it may sell patient medical information to its advertising clients on the new "Google Health" database: https://www.google.com/health/

Download Consumer Watchdog's letter urging Congress to refuse Google's amendments and detailing five areas of needed patient privacy improvements: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/PrivacyLetterCongress.pdf

In the letter sent today, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Americans will benefit from an integrated system capable of making our medical records available wherever we may need them, but only if the system is properly used.

"The medical technology portion of the economic stimulus bill does not sufficiently protect patient privacy, and recent amendments have made this situation worse. Medical privacy must be strengthened before the measure's final passage, rather than allowing corporate interests to take advantage of the larger bill's urgency. ...

"First and foremost, electronic medical records should be designed to benefit patients, not the corporate interests lobbying hard on Capitol Hill to get a piece of the $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies provided for this pro
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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