MEDICAL PRIVACY: Advocates Say McCain Went ‘Too Far’
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) --which advocates for health information confidentiality legislation -- said GOP presidential hopeful John McCain (R-AZ) went "too far" in releasing all his medical records. The AHIMA warned that his actions could set a national precedent. AHIMA President Claire Dixon-Lee wrote, "It would be devastating if releases of health information by presidential candidates served as a catalyst for demands for this kind of information from all Americans ... The concept of releasing medical records in a presidential election stands squarely in opposition to the concept of federal confidentiality legislation." McCain released his records in an attempt to squash rumors that he is mentally unfit to be President because of his experience as a POW in Vietnam (AP/Nando Times, 12/5). Following McCain's move, Steve Forbes said that he too will make his medical records available to the public. Dixon-Lee has urged Forbes and other candidates to release only summaries, saying this compromising "action would send a clear message to the American public about the importance of maintaining an individual's right to privacy and protecting the confidentiality of his or her health information" (AHIMA release, 12/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.