This is a bit scary as the physicians need our consent, but it appears the pharmacies are not under the same rules so in essence the information can be shared with any pharmacy? BD
A loophole in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act allows pharmacies to "auction off" patient information -- such as their prescriptions, medical conditions, Social Security numbers and health insurance records -- "to the highest bidder," Sen. Charles Schumer said on Monday, Long Island Newsday reports (Perez, Long Island Newsday, 6/19).
The HIPAA Federal Privacy Rule, implemented in 2003, allows health care providers to share patient medical records for the purposes of treatment and other "health care operations." Providers do not have to obtain written consent before they disclose medical records but are required to inform patients of their rights and make a "good-faith effort" to obtain written acknowledgment from patients that they have received the information. Providers must obtain consent from patients before they can disclose medical records in "nonroutine" cases.
However, Schumer said that the rule allows pharmacies to sell patient information to other pharmacies without their consent. Schumer has asked HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to revise the rule to require pharmacies to obtain consent from patients before they sell or transfer their information (Long Island Newsday, 6/19).