For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 12, 2001
Statement by the President
Today, I directed Secretary Thompson to allow a federal rule that will protect the privacy of medical information for millions of Americans to become effective. For the first time, patients will have full access to their medical records and more control over how their personal information will be used and disclosed. The rule also provides a clear avenue of recourse for those Americans whose medical privacy has been compromised.
This rule will help address patients' growing concerns regarding medical privacy. Although impressive advances in medicine and information technology have helped make America's health care system the best in the world, our new technologies have at times made it more difficult to protect personal medical information. I believe that we must protect both vital health care services and the right of every American to have confidence that his or her personal medical records will remain private.
I recognize that legitimate concerns have been raised about the current rule, which I share, such as parents' concern that the rule limits their right to have access to their children's medical records. I have asked Secretary Thompson to recommend appropriate modifications to the rule to address these concerns and to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of health care. Improving our health care system while protecting the confidentiality of patient records will continue to be an important goal of my Administration.