June 24, 2005- House Passes Markey Medical Privacy Amendment

WASHINGTON DC- Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Co-Chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, today attached an amendment to the appropriations bill that funds the Department of Health and Human Services. The amendment, which was cosponsored by Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), was included within a group of “Manager’s Amendments” approved by the House.

“The recent wave of privacy breaches – from ChoicePoint to Lexis-Nexis to CardSystems Solutions – has swept up the personal information of tens of millions of Americans. As the Department of Health and Human Services moves forwards with plans to develop a new nationwide network that will contain the personal medical records of millions of Americans, it is essential that strong privacy safeguards are built into the design of the network. My amendment restricts funding for the new health information network unless the Department of Health and Human Services ensures that patients are notified if any of their private medical information in the network is lost, stolen or misused,” Rep. Markey said.

The Markey-Emanuel amendment was endorsed by the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists, and the California Consumer Health Care Council.

“The new health information network holds tremendous promise to improve health care for patients. It also holds enormous peril for privacy, unless robust safeguards are included. I am pleased that my amendment was included in the House bill today, and I will work to ensure that this important privacy protection is preserved in the final version of the bill,” Rep. Markey concluded.

June 24, 2005
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
Mark Bayer