- While the American people were trying
to kill the FDIC Know Your Customer plan to monitor our financial records,
the Clintonites have been moving steadily and craftily to grab access
to our health records. Just as local bankers were to have been coopted
to spy on our bank accounts, the Administration is using two groups, home
health providers and senior citizens, to spy on our medical records and
forward all sorts of personal data to government databases.
- The pretext for these overreaching regulations
is to uncover "fraud and abuse." But the methodology is to monitor
all law-abiding citizens under the supposition that any of us might be
doing something criminal.
- The new regulation to force 9,000 home
health care agencies to collect and report sensitive information about
all their patients was issued by the powerful federal agency called HCFA
(Health Care Financing Administration). OASIS (Outcome and Assessment Information
Set) is the cutesy name for this latest venture into Big Brotherism.
- Under OASIS, home health providers must
interrogate ALL their patients, not merely those whose bills are being
paid by the government through Medicare or Medicaid, exempting only children
under age 18 and pre- and post-natal mothers. The government is thus reaching
out to grab the medical records of patients whose medical bills are paid
by private sources, i.e., not paid by the government.
- The 12-page fine-print form that home
health care providers must fill out on each patient is extraordinarily
detailed, offensively privacy-invading to the patient, and obviously exhausting
and time-consuming for the employee conducting the interrogation. Curiously,
this mandatory government form carries a copyright notice on every page,
probably to prevent commentators like me from making copies and alerting
the public to this new evidence of the Clintonites' efforts to collect
information that is none of the government's business.
- The questionnaire isn't just about medical
history, treatment and medications. Questions must be answered on race,
ethnicity, family, whether you own or rent your residence, whom you live
with, your finances, and your psychological attitude and behavior, of course,
all tied into your Social Security number.
- There's much more. The questionnaire
demands information on your mental state, your depression, your tobacco
and alcohol use, your obesity, your bathing and eating practices, and your
lack of motivation, unrealistic expectations, indecisiveness, suicide attempts,
and life expectancy. The form asks if you make grammar mistakes, or use
"excessive profanity" or "sexual references," and it
has 53 boxes to be filled out on toilet and "elimination" performance.
- The home health care interrogator is
instructed how to win the patient's trust before asking these nosy questions.
If the patient refuses to answer any questions, the home health care employee
is told to insert his own "observations."
- There is no provision for voluntary informed
consent on the part of the patient, or that he be told that his responses
will be logged onto government databases. Home health providers must obey
HCFA directives under penalty of not getting paid for their Medicare patients.
- These forms must be filled out every
time a home health care provider enrolls a new patient, and then revised
every 60 days. Data are sent electronically to computers at state agencies
and then to HCFA's database.
- It was the 1996 Kennedy- Kassebaum Act
(which Bob Dole bragged about passing) that legislated the framework for
a federal system of collecting and sharing medical records identified
by a unique number for each patient. The OASIS regulation is another step
to implement one of the original goals of Clinton's 1994 nationalized health
plan: global budgeting, i.e. government management of all private, as
well as public, health-care spending.
- When grassroots Americans found out about
the Know Your Customer Regulation, they flooded the FDIC with 300,000 negative
comments over a three-month comment period. But the comment period for
the OASIS regulation expired March 26, and major newspapers didn't report
it until 15 days before the deadline.
- The Clinton Administration's other campaign
to gather medical records is a plan to recruit all senior citizens to spy
on their own physicians with the goal of accusing them of fraud. Attorney
General Janet Reno has made a public-private partnership with AARP to
offer senior citizens the chance to collect a reward of up to $1000 if
they file a report that leads to a monetary "recovery" from their
- If a senior suspects that his doctor
has billed Medicare too much for a service rendered, the senior is supposed
to call the toll-free "Fraud Hotline'' and report the doctor as a
possible thief and crook.
- The harassment potential is enormous
when 39 million seniors start trying to collect a bonus if the doctor's
office enters the wrong payment code number on a Medicare form. It is probable
that most seniors believe that everything they buy is overpriced because
they grew up at a time when prices were so much lower.
- What a malicious scheme to harass doctors
and destroy any confidential relationship between doctors and patients!