R 399
2019 -- S 0580 SUBSTITUTE A
Enacted 06/26/2019

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Goldin, and Miller
Date Introduced: March 14, 2019

     WHEREAS, Confidentiality of personal medical information is integral to a patient's
health and to the provider-patient relationship; and
     WHEREAS, Patient confidentiality has been raised as a serious concern in the context of
third-party billing for sensitive medical screenings and treatments; and
     WHEREAS, Despite patient privacy protections in place at the state and federal level,
separate billing requirements and common health insurance practices may put the confidentiality
of patient information at risk when sensitive medical services are billed to a private insurer or
Medicaid; and
     WHEREAS, The confidentiality of patient information may be exposed due to third-
party payers sending an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which details medical services received
by a patient, or other types of communications, to the primary policyholder instead of the
dependent who received the care; and
     WHEREAS, A dependent's information may be at risk without their knowledge or
consent; and
     WHEREAS, Minors who are accessing services to which, by law, they can consent to
independently, as well as young adults and adults that are on their spouses’ health insurance plan
are greatly affected by this issue; and
     WHEREAS, The Affordable Care Act allows dependents to stay on their parents' medical
insurance coverage until age twenty-six; and
     WHEREAS, Patients may delay or completely avoid getting sensitive medical screenings
or treatments, for fear of their medical information being exposed, which could put them and
others at risk; and
     WHEREAS, Patients may delay or completely avoid getting mental health care because
the policyholder might find out; and
     WHEREAS, Patients that are victims of domestic violence may not seek treatment for
their injuries because they may be at risk of experiencing retaliatory violence if their abuser
receives a communication regarding their private medical information, such as an Explanation of
Benefits; and
     WHEREAS, Thirteen states have provisions that serve to protect the confidentiality of
individuals insured as dependents; and
     WHEREAS, Developing procedures and protocols to protect patient confidentiality and
educating providers and patients about how to protect patient confidentiality could improve
patient privacy and decrease the risk of exposing sensitive medical information without a
patient’s knowledge or consent; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
hereby respectfully requests the Rhode Island Department of Health to develop and promulgate
rules and regulations to ensure the confidential communication of sensitive medical information;
and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Rhode Island Department of Health may consult with the other
state agencies to implement said regulations, as necessary, including, but not limited to, the
Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner and The Office of the Attorney General; and be it
     RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby requests the Rhode Island Department of Health to
finalize these rules and regulations and notify the Rhode Island Senate Committee on Health and
Human Services of these rules and regulations on or before January 2, 2020; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Honorable Gina Raimondo, Governor of the
State of Rhode Island, Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island
Department of Health, Marie L. Ganim, PhD, Health Insurance Commissioner, and the Honorable
Peter Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General.
LC002063/SUB A