We are a group of health information professionals and concerned citizens seeking to raise public awareness. We believe the general public is not aware that their medical and financial information is being shipped overseas.
We are also seeking to get legislation passed to control the under-regulated processing of personal medical and financial information in foreign countries. The current HIPAA Privacy law does not sufficiently protect PHI that is sent offshore. HIPAA only applies to covered entities (medical providers, insurance companies, and clearinghouses). It does not apply to business associates, such as billing companies, and it does not make the covered entities liable for the actions of their business associates. When a breach occurs, nobody is held responsible. If an offshore breach leads to medical identity theft, it would be nearly impossible to do anything about it because they are beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. laws. (Please see the links for additional information).
Seeking legislation in the business of offshoring in no way means that we advocate the practice. In fact, we strongly oppose it - American jobs should stay in America! However, we believe our government will not stop offshoring unless it results in a major tragedy. If we can't stop it from happening, we can at least get more laws passed to regulate it!
Starting July 1, 2008 we are launching a massive letter-writing campaign to local, state, and federal officials, newspapers, TV stations, and other organizations.
More and more physicians, hospitals, and health insurance companies are sending their billing, coding, and transcription jobs offshore in an effort to cut costs... without their patients' and customers' knowledge!
Offshoring is not only taking jobs away from Americans and impeding customer relations, but it is also a serious security risk!
One story from 2004 reported that ACTIVE DUTY soldiers' medical information was being sent offshore to be transcribed in Pakistan. Allegedly, these files contained vital information such as name, rank, home address, names of relatives, current duty station and locations to which records should be sent including upcoming overseas assignments. Read the story here. On October 7, 2003, a Pakistani woman sent an email message to the University Of California San Francisco Medical Center, demanding payment for her medical transcription work, with patient files attached. Click here to read the whole story. Just a few weeks later, Heartland Information Services, an Ohio-based transcription company, was the victim of an extortion attempt by its own workers in Bangalore, India. The Heartland employees threatened to reveal confidential information unless they received a cash payoff. Click here to read the whole story.
These are just the stories we know about! The fact is, serious security risks for individuals in the United States exist and we do not intend to sit idly by waiting for something to happen!
Four years ago, the issue of offshoring was a hot topic in the news and several bills were proposed on the subject of privacy (See the links to the right for more information). However, none of the bills regarding privacy were passed into law and, since then, the efforts have diminished significantly.
Let's bring this issue back into the public eye!