MA House of Representatives Passes PATCH Bill

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This week the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.4256, An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Health Care, also known as the PATCH bill. This important legislation, which I cosponsored, creates a procedure to ensure that confidential information and utilization of sensitive services are not shared with anyone other than the patient when multiple people are on the same insurance plan. 

Confidentiality is key to guaranteeing that patients can access the care they need without fear of invasion of privacy. Currently, many health insurance companies send documents called "Explanation of Benefits" (EOB), which detail the type and cost of medical services a person receives to the primary subscriber on an insurance plan, even when there's no payment due. 

This legislation closes this doctor-patient confidentiality loophole. As it stands now, this confidentiality breach puts the health of young adults and minors at risk because they may forego important medical treatments for fear that their parent or spouse may see their sensitive health information. 

PATCH, for instance, will protect those in abusive relationships, those who seek sexual and reproductive health care services, or those who seek preventative health services. Massachusetts already took an important step to dismantle barriers to safe and accessible health care by passing the ACCESS bill. I'm glad to see that the legislature is continuing this movement by passing PATCH. 

Preyel Patel