Hundreds of healthcare protesters recently marched to the Oklahoma State Capitol in order to fight for mental health privacy rights.
The protesters were responding to a new bill that is set to go into effect on July 1st, which would require healthcare providers to enter patient records into an online database.
Many protesters argued that this new law is a violation of patients’ rights and privacy. They are concerned that it will reduce privacy protections for mental health records and push healthcare providers to leave the field.
The Oklahoma Providers of Privacy were among the organizers of the protest, and their spokesperson, Sabrina DeQuasie, stated that “mental health records are more important, they’re more private than your regular medical records.”
DeQuasie added that “A lot of people don’t understand that we have rules in place that keep that separate from your medical record… But it’s also going to change how your providers are able to even give you services.
And that means that we’re going to have to give information to the state that we feel like is private and that we shouldn’t be giving them our rights.”
Protesters are also concerned that the new law will reduce privacy protections and allow for more breaches of patients’ rights. However, Oklahoma Healthcare Authority Secretary Kevin Corbett argues that the new law will pave the way for better coordination of care and better information flow.
Corbett reassured everyone that there will be strict access in terms of who can look at the database, and that the data will be protected with stringent security measures.
The OHCA Board of Directors will cast their final votes on March 22nd, which will determine whether the new bill will go into effect.
Protesters are hoping that their demonstration will bring awareness to patients and clients on how this law will affect their privacy and rights.