Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, CCHFreedom.org) released its eight-year study. CCHF has been researching health departments in all 50 states to find out how they use funding from the federal government to obtain and store citizens’ private medical information — in most cases, without patients’ consent.
CCHF’s report, “Patient Privacy and Public Trust: How Health Surveillance Systems Are Undermining Both,” includes details about the extensive private patient data that states collect and maintain. One alarming fact, says patient advocate and co-founder of CCHF, Twila Brase, is that the information is stored and identified along with the name of each individual American.
“We have conducted over eight years of research and we’ve found that states are building health profiles of individuals starting from childhood,” Brase said. “These are long-term tracking systems without the person’s knowledge or choice. Private data is being analyzed, and if patients have the option to ‘opt out,’ they leave behind a record making them vulnerable to being stamped as ‘anti-government.’ What we found is a scary, disturbing intrusion into Americans’ privacy, and a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, which protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause — and that applies to our private medical information, too.”
Brase’s report, released today, contains extensive information on the types of health data collected by states, including but not limited to: hospital discharge data, vaccination and newborn genetic screening data, cancer diagnosis and treatment data, as well as data on individuals diagnosed with ADHD, autism, birth defects, diabetes, asthma, sexually transmitted diseases, strokes and cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ER visits, obesity and injuries. Other personal information collected and stored includes the patient’s name, Social Security number, address, sex, race, ethnicity, date of birth and occupation.
Many findings in CCHF’s groundbreaking work, include:
• State-created government patient-tracking systems and they are given federal money to create and maintain these databases.
• Patient consent for collection and use of their data is typically not required.
• Government workers can enter hospitals and clinics to collect your data without your consent.
• With no consent requirement, members of the public are probably not aware of the vast array of state surveillance systems.