This post is a notification as well as a call to action for state legislation that will affect almost every Oklahoman at some point. The state legislature has created a Health Information Exchange that will mandate all Licensed Health Professionals, including counselors to upload their medical records a statewide Health Information Exchange that will be accessible by all other licensed healthcare providers, (and likely their staff). There has been a grassroots effort by a number of mental health organizations to urge the exclusion of all licensed mental health professionals from the health exchange.
There are also many clinical arguments against having patient information in a huge database that's accessible by many and open to hacking or leakage. Confidentiality is the bedrock of effective therapy. The scope of health information sharing with this proposal may also inhibit patients from seeking care due to concerns about their privacy.
Mental health professionals deal with different types of information than other health professionals, and many clients would stop coming to therapy or decide not to seek therapy if they knew information that they shared with their mental health therapist would be shared on a statewide database. Mental health professionals have worked for many years to reverse the stigma of seeking mental health treatment, and this Act could put us back 20 years by furthering the stigma of mental health treatment.
As it currently stands, state legislators and the governor can intervene in this Act to completely remove mental health professionals not contracted with the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority from this exchange.
There is a news story that explains how the Health Information Exchange can directly affect clients on https://www.news9.com/story/640faef02a41d2072cabb65a/therapists-raise-privacy-concerns-over-new-oklahoma-medical-records-law
I encourage each of you reading this post to contact your federal and state house representatives and senators at http://www.oklegislature.gov/findmylegislature.aspx.to let then know if you do not want your health information on a statewide exchange.