Update April 2, 2018: We're excited to share that Governor Baker has signed the PATCH Act into law!
Yesterday, the Massachusetts House and Senate enacted the Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (PATCH). This bill ensures that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential health care information is not shared with anyone other than the patient. The bill is now headed to Governor Baker’s desk to be signed into law.
This legislation will remove a potential barrier for survivors of sexual violence seeking medical care when on someone else’s insurance plan. Katia Santiago-Taylor, BARCC’s Advocacy and Legislative Affairs Manager, said, "We’re very grateful to the House and Senate for moving this vital legislation forward. Survivors of sexual violence may delay seeking critical medical evaluation out of fear of lack of confidentiality when accessing medical care. The PATCH Act provides survivors with the comfort of knowing that their privacy will not be violated and the insurance holder won’t receive notice of the care they’ve received. The more systems in place to ensure that survivors have control over their privacy, the more they will be able to get the care that they deserve.”
BARCC has been working to advance this bill as part of the PATCH Alliance, a broad-based group of provider, advocacy, and community-based organizations concerned with maintaining confidentiality in health insurer communications with their members.