Patient Confidentiality Bill Advances in Financial Services Committee

Bill would protect Access to Confidential Health Care for Patients

BOSTON—S.557/H.871, An Act to Protect Access To Confidential Healthcare, also known as the PATCH Act, which addresses a barrier to accessing health care by ensuring that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential health care information is not shared with anyone other than the patient, received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Financial Services.

“As more young people obtain health insurance through their parents, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we need to be vigilant in making sure that all patients’ health information remains confidential,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services. “I’m pleased to work with my co-chair, Representative Aaron Michlewicz, to report this bill out favorably from the Financial Services Committee and praise Senator Karen Spilka and Rep. Kate Hogan for filing this important legislation.”

“I am pleased that this legislation is moving forward so that people’s privacy will be protected in a reasonable and safe manner. I look forward to it becoming law,” said Chairman Aaron Michlewitz.

“Patient confidentiality is a foundational element of the patient-provider relationship,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Unfortunately, victims of abuse or minors are often reluctant to seek certain types of treatment, fearing that their abuser or parent will learn these details. This bill would ensure that all patients have confidential access to the health care they need.”

“The PATCH Act aims to provide patients the privacy protections they need to feel comfortable in seeking health care,” said Public Health Committee Chair Kate Hogan. “Confidentiality becomes particularly important to patients seeking services for sensitive issues of sexual and reproductive health, domestic violence or sexual assault, and mental health and substance abuse disorders. This legislation will alleviate fears of being punished, traumatized or stigmatized for the health care decisions a patient may make.”

S.557/H.871, An Act to Protect Access To Confidential Healthcare, also known as the PATCH Act, is sponsored by Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). The bills are now in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.


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