Edit: After a bunch of ranting prompted by a Senator's comment, I've realized I should have cooled down before writing. I'll post in a day or two my further opinions, including having read more articles . . . but here's the basics without the ranting.
We're rather unorganized around here, so it's not uncommon to uncover a piece of mail that's months or more old, unopened. Or opened, but this particular piece hadn't been opened.
It's dated July 19 2012, and is from the Utah Department of Health. It says the following:
Dear Program Beneficiary:
A new state law this year requires that individuals enrolled in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Primary Care Network (PCN), or Utah's Premium Partnership for Health Insurance (UPP) be automatically enrolled in the Utah Clinical Health Information Exchange or cHIE.
The cHIE is an electronic system that can help generate your medical history based on information from participating cHIE healthcare providers. the cHIE provides a safe place for your healthcare providers to securely share and view your medical information. Only authorized healthcare professionals can access your information and only for treatment purposes.
Based on available information, the cHIE helps your healthcare providers know what prescriptions you are taking, whether you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medication, what immunizations you have had, and more. This information helps doctros give you the best possible care because they know your medical history.
Beginning September 1, 2012, individuals on Medicaid, CHIP, PCN, or UPP will have their consent status in the cHIE set to PARTICIPATE. You have the right to not participate in the cHIE or to change your consent status at any time. You may also choose to give limited consent, which allows access to your medical records to healthcare professionals only in an emergency or for one particular medical visit. When you leave Medicaid, CHIP, PCN, or UPP, your consent status in the cHIE will remain in effect for five years or until age 18 for minors.
For more information, visit www.mychie.org or contact your participating cHIE healthcare provider.
I have a variety of questions and issues I need to research, but the one that moved to the top of my list resulted from this article.
For now, Medicaid patients will be given a chance to pull out only because a mandate for them would require the federal government's blessing, which the bill directs state health officials to seek.So, while the letter indicates I can opt out, it seems that may not be the case forever (or for long?). A sentiment that is perhaps insensitively delivered is:
As for Medicaid, he (Sen. Allen Christensen) said, "If the state's paying the bill, we get to tell you this is how it's going to be. If you don't want your records shared under Medicaid, that's fine, get out of Medicaid."
The Senator's name was added by me to clarify who said this statement. Parenthetical mine.
Perhaps the potential cost savings from better-coordinated care are a (justifiable?) reason to force opt-in (or eventually, forced participation with no opt-out) on those receiving publicly-funded health care.
Another quote from the article addresses this, sort of:
The cHIE promises to save lives, time and money by reducing misdiagnoses and medical errors caused by doctors having incomplete access to patient information.
I've never experienced any errors in medical care, or prescriptions, although that's just MY experience. Since the disabled are a part of the population utilizing Medicaid, perhaps some peoples' more complicated medical needs would show some savings from being forced into this system/practice. However, is it enough to justify taking away peoples' rights?
This statement from the article sounds more like marketing for the cHIE than anything else. Give me some studies. I can eat crow, but that doesn't change my feelings that the Senator's opinion, phrased the way it is, is offensive, elitist, and other things.