Oklahoma law creating new medical records database comes under fire from mental health professionals

TULSA — A bill passed last year by Oklahoma lawmakers would create a new statewide medical records system, it goes into effect in July.

Some mental health professionals have expressed serious concerns about privacy and confidentiality, while also decrying the costs of the system they say will be passed on to medical practices.

The law covers all providers - including physicians, dentists, chiropractors, as well as licensed therapists and counselors.

Georgene Dwyer is government relations chair for the Oklahoma Counselors Association.

She tells KRMG she’s been told the cost to join the mandated reporting system could run as high as $5,000 up front, with fees totaling several hundred dollars a month for some practitioners.

But that is not her primary concern.

“The real reason we are opposed to this, is because of privacy,” she told KRMG Wednesday.

“Patients come to us - patients or clients, I call them clients - come to us because they can tell us the truth. They can trust us,” Dwyer said.

She’s not confident that the state will be able to keep those sensitive records private, nor is she clear on who exactly will have access to them.

Moreover, many in her field believe this new statute as written violates existing law regarding those mental health records.

“We can not reveal anything,” she said. “It’s in the statutes, it’s in our rules and regulations.”

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 22nd and will reportedly take up the rules in question.





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