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Patient confidentiality will not be compromised BHeC

The Bermuda Health Council has no plans to request individual patient information from the Island’s health insurers, the organisation clarified yesterday.

Doctors were concerned that new legislation passed last week could jeopardise patient privacy.

But Jennifer Attride-Stirling, CEO of the BHeC which is being made a licenser for the Island’s health insurers issued a statement saying that the licenser always had the power to request relevant information from insurers “and patient confidentiality has never been compromised”.

It said that BHeC needs data for producing reports on the health system and “has never requested patient-identifiable information from any organisation”.

“The types of analyses BHeC conducts do not require patient information and there are no plans to request any such data,” said BHeC CEO Jennifer Attride-Stirling in a statement.

“Any data requested from insurers is anonymised and used for monitoring health system trends in health status, utilisation and expenditure.”

And she stressed that the authority to request such information was already in place.

“Although this authority has long been in place, patient information has never been requested and it is not needed to conduct the health system performance monitoring with which the BHeC is charged in the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004.”

Bermuda’s lawmakers passed the Health Insurance Amendment Bill last week, which transferred responsibility for licensing health insurers and health insurance schemes to the BHeC.

Doctors were concerned at wording in the legislation which gives BHeC the power to request “any other relevant information required by the Council for the purposes of health system analysis, planning and management,” saying it could potentially put at risk their patients’ confidential information.

“Most health insurers are aware of these aspects of the legislation and will vouch that patient identifiable information has never been requested by BHeC, and that doctor-patient confidentiality has never been breached,” said Ms Attride-Stirling.

“We are working closely with insurers to create the new data request in a manner that protects patient confidentiality, and the majority of insurers support the change. In fact, the new data format was proposed by an insurance representative.”

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Published March 27, 2012 at 9:59 am (Updated March 27, 2012 at 9:59 am)

Patient confidentiality will not be compromised BHeC

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