March 25, 2019
Letter

EMHS opt-out policy

Waiting for mom at EMMC for her yearly mammogram, I only half-listened as the hospital registrars explained a new form waiver to her and several other patients, effective Sept. 1. The phrase “information may be released to charities” kept breaking through my concentration on a sock I was knitting.

Mom had given me papers to hold and after hearing this repeated several times I put down the knitting and tried to figure out what they were talking about.

On page 3 of 9: “To contact you for EMHS-related fund-raising activities we may use or disclose your protected health information to contact you for EMHS-related fund-raising activities (limited to name, address, telephone number, insurance status, gender, age, and dates of treatment). If you do not want to be contacted for fundraising activities, please write to Healthcare Charities at P.O. Box 931, One Cumberland Place Bangor, Maine, 04402-0931.”

Apparently EMMC patient confidentiality has gone out the window and you must request to opt out of fundraising, rather than opt in. Mom neither hears nor sees very well so she had no idea what she had unknowingly authorized. Name, address, telephone number, insurance status, gender, age and dates of treatment hardly seem “limited.” Judging by the lack of reaction from other patients as this form waiver spiel sped by, I doubt the extent of this sharing was registering with many. This is an unacceptable breach of trust and EMMC should cease its backward opt-out policy immediately.

Laurie Walton

Glenburn


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