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Mass. doctors oppose HIV privacy bill

Boston Business Journal, September 14, 2011

A coalition of health care organizations and more than a hundred doctors who treat HIV patients are opposing a bill pending before the Massachusetts legislature that would greatly increase restrictions on the release of medical information about patients with HIV. The bill is designed to increase routine testing for HIV by expand the confidentiality of HIV testing to include all HIV- and AIDS-related information, including treatments, laboratory tests and associated diagnoses. It would prohibit the release of any information related to HIV testing or treatment without written informed consent of the patient. But doctors say this would have the unintended consequence of disrupting coordination of care for people with HIV because it would be difficult for providers to communicate with each other and share necessary information. The group, which includes physicians affiliated with the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center, among others, say the bill would be "directly harmful to those it seeks to protect, the patients of the Commonwealth."