Our Medical Records Are Private…or Are They?

nurse holding an ipad

Liberty is a delicate balance between security and privacy.

We have been led to believe that our online medical records are private and secure under HIPPA, right?

But maybe they aren’t…

Recently, we were shocked to learn of a new practice by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In an effort to track down “pill mills,” the DEA has been accessing medical files and private state prescription drug records. They issue themselves “administrative subpoenas,” which are not signed by a judge and which do not require probable cause.

The goal of the DEA is to pursue doctors who overprescribe controlled substances such as oxycodone, morphine, Percocet, amphetamines, and steroids. There is no doubt that these drugs and their distribution are causing a scourge on our society. Drugs are a serious criminal and societal issue.

But do we have to sacrifice the right to our private medical information to catch the bad guys?

There is more than one way to catch a criminal. The DEA has access to tremendous resources to make cases without compromising our privacy.

We have let the beast of Internet technology control nearly every aspect of our lives. Many of us have fears of server crashes and hackers breaking the system. Now we have to worry about our own government once again violating its own rules (HIPPA) put in place for our protection.

One Texas court ordered a doctor who refused to turn over the records.

One Oregon judge said the doctor did not have to turn them over.

A couple of cases are making their way through the 5th and 9th circuit appeals courts.

At the National Center for Life and Liberty, we will carefully monitor these cases as they make their way through the system.