The American Civil Liberties Union has published a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the government’s ability to access your personal medical information.
Recently, some Americans who have visited a hospital, pharmacy, or doctor’s office have received letters informing them that their private health information may be turned over to “authorized federal officials” for the purposes of national security or intelligence activities.
The ACLU’s response takes into account legislation still in effect from the USA Patriot Act, as well as current HIPAA privacy regulations. The ACLU answers questions about whether police can obtain medical information without a warrant (yes), and whether the government (and possibly those acting on its behalf) can access that information under the Patriot Act (yes).
Many Americans feel a growing concern about the potential for government overreach in their ability to access private information about its citizens. The ACLU seems to share in this concern, recommending readers contact Congress to pass legislature that would revise medical privacy laws, in particular requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant first before accessing private medical data.
You can read the full report, complete with legal sources for the ACLU’s findings, on their website.