State House approves bill protecting patient confidentiality

The State Senate approved a similar bill earlier this month

BOSTON (WWLP) – A bill aimed at protecting patient confidentiality is one step closer to becoming law.

The bill would ensure patients’ medical treatment information is kept private, a move lawmakers believe is especially important for sensitive services such as birth control and testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Massachusetts bill seeks to protect patients’ health care confidentiality

Currently, health insurers may send summaries detailing the type and cost of medical services a patient receives to the primary subscriber of the insurance plan. This often reveals sensitive information that some patients may not want a parent or spouse to see.

“The fact that you’re on a policy, an insurance policy, with other family members doesn’t necessarily mean those family members should have automatic access to all the treatments you receive,” South Hadley State Rep. John Scibak told 22News.

Lawmakers press for new patient confidentiality protections

The House approved a bill on Wednesday known as the PATCH Act. That bill would require insurance carriers to share confidential information with the patient only.

The Senate approved a similar bill earlier this month. According to a House budget official, the bills will now head to a conference committee that will settle differences between the two proposals.