The state Department of Human Services is sending out a blizzard of mail — 30-thousand letters a day, 170-thousand in all to Medicaid clients and others who’ve received D-H-S services. Agency spokesman Roger Munns says a new federal healthcare law requires notifying everyone how their health information’s kept private. Munns says people who are getting the notice in the mail should know they don’t have to do anything, and their benefits are not changing. They’ve set up a toll-free number and call center to answer questions. Munns says the letter is required by federal law and lets people know that the state has their medical information on file — as it always did — and that clients have the right to look it over to see if it’s correct. There’s no change in the security of your records, according to Munns, and he says there is a very short list of parties that can have access to your health information. He hastens to explain that does not include telemarketers or “people who want to sell you someting,” but they might give information to your own physician about treatment you received somewhere else in an emergency room. Law enforcement, courts and insurance companies sometimes get health information but the new federal law is aimed at safeguarding medical privacy, not weakening it according to Munns. Clients who get the requried public-notification letter from Human Services can get their questions answered by calling 1-800-803-6591.
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