OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Saturday, hundreds of Oklahoma healthcare protesters marched from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority building to the Oklahoma State Capitol to fight for mental health privacy.
A new bill, if passed, is supposed to go into effect July 1st and it would require all healthcare providers to enter patient records into an online database.
Many protesters on Saturday argued it is a violation of patients’ rights and privacy.
The march comes less than a week before The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board of Directors plans to cast their final votes on the new law.
“The way it is going to impact our patients and clients is that they’re going to have fewer privacy protections. They’re going to have less ability to protect their mental health records. And we just want to make sure that people understand that mental health records are more important, they’re more private than your regular medical records,” said Sabrina DeQuasie, Oklahoma Providers of Privacy.
Organizers of Saturday’s protest said through the march, they were wanting to bring awareness to patients and clients on how this would affect their privacy.
“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,” said DeQuasie.
Protestors also said they are worried this would push healthcare providers to leave the field.
“This is a requirement that is enforced, and we would have to do this… The state is not involved in their health care. They’re not providing money. They’re just requiring us to put in their information into a state database. And they’ve been saying they’re going to use it for demographic information and things like this. And I think I think it’s going to be really harmful for folks that need counseling,” said Carla, protester and healthcare worker.
On the other hand, the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority Secretary, Kevin Corbett said this new law would pave a new path in healthcare.
“This is something we believe will add to coordination of care, better treatments, better information flow,” said Secretary Kevin Corbett, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
Corbett also wanted to reassure everyone there will be a “very strict access” in terms of who can look at the database.
“There’s lots of stringent security around this data, as you expect. It is personal health information that we want to make sure that we all have a responsibility to protect,” said Corbett.
The OHCA Board of Directors will cast their final votes Wednesday, March 22nd at 2 p.m. KFOR will bring you the outcome then.
You can find more on the bill here.