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07/26/2005 Archived Entry: ""
The following is from the Institute for Health Freedom e-newsletter. (Hat tip to the Medical Privacy Coalition.) For the first time in our nation's history, a local health department has proposed compelling medical laboratories to report blood-sugar-test results. Click 'more' for further information...
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene floated the proposal in early July. The New York Times says that although medical laboratories have been mandated to report information about infectious diseases (such as hepatitis), they have never been ordered to pass along information about chronic diseases.
According to the Times, the rationale for mandatory reporting of blood-sugar-test (A1c) results is to exercise "surveillance" of diabetes and employ "more aggressive intervention." City health officials are hoping to collect data on at least 90 percent of those with diabetes, meaning the government would obtain and analyze millions of test results. It is estimated that the New York City government would keep information on approximately 500,000 citizens, including their names.
In proposing mandatory reporting, health officials point out that these other registries are already in operation:
·· New York State, Department of Health (NYS DOH) Cancer Registry
·· NYS DOH Alzheimer's and other Dementias Registry
·· NYS DOH Congenital Malformations Registry
·· New York City, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) Communicable Disease Registries
·· NYC DOHMH Lead Registry
·· NYC DOHMH Immunization Registry
·· National VA [Veterans Administration] Diabetes Registry
Upcoming Public Hearing on Blood-Sugar-Test Registry
A public hearing is expected to be held in August and the department of health could pass a regulation as early as September. Whether you live in New York City or not, you should consider how such a trend could affect your health privacy and freedom.
Additionally, you should become informed about the role and responsibilities of your local boards of health. After all, tax dollars support them, and health officials are working for the citizenry. According to the National Association of Local Boards of Health, more than 70 percent of health boards report they are responsible for recommending public-health policy; proposing, adopting and enforcing public-health regulations; and recommending health-department budgets and priorities. Boards are typically small, with 74 percent having at most seven members.
In a free society, government serves the citizensit is not the master, not even when it comes to public-health activities.
·· New York Times, "City Officials Aim to Track How Diabetics Manage Illness," July 8, 2005
·· New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "NYC A1C Registry" [.pdf]
·· New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Homepage
·· National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH), "About Local Boards of Health" [.pdf]