Federal officials recently shared the names and data from Medicare claims to help local health departments reach out to those residents in advance of emergencies and disaster drills. But not everyone's pleased about it.
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Writes Sheri Fink of the New York Times: "The phone calls were part Big Brother, part benevolent parent. When a rare ice storm threatened New Orleans in January, some residents heard from a city official who had gained access to their private medical information. Kidney dialysis patients were advised to seek early treatment because clinics would be closing. Others who rely on breathing machines at home were told how to find help if the power went out."
It is an example of "just one of a growing number of public and corporate efforts to take health information far beyond the doctor's office, offering the privacy of better care, but also raising concerns about patient privacy," the article said.
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