December 22, 2006
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation she has called for since 2002 that increases patient confidentiality by tightening access to medical records and placing restrictions on their disposal.
"As technology increases in the 21st century, we have a duty to help citizens protect their privacy," Granholm said. "This legislation will ensure that citizens' personal information remains between them and their health care provider when they seek medical treatment and assistance."
Senate Bill 465 requires medical records to be maintained for a minimum of 7 years and provides a system for health facilities or agencies to dispose of records older than seven years, while ensuring patient information remains confidential. The bill requires health facilities to notify patients if their businesses cease, or if they plan to transfer or destroy existing medical records. The bill also imposes fines of up to $10,000 if businesses fail to comply.
Senate Bill 468 amends the Freedom of Information Act to make is clear that "protected health information" as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is exempt from disclosure, giving patients protection against unwarranted invasion of personal information.
"Patients deserve the utmost respect and privacy as they seek medical attention," Granholm said. "This legislation will provide that privacy for patients and their families."
The two bills signed today are Senate Bills 465 and 468. The bills were sponsored by Senators Gilda Z. Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) and Deborah Cherry (D-Burton), respectively. Governor Granholm is also expected to sign similar legislation, Senate Bill 466, sponsored by Senator Bruce Patterson (R-Canton).
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