Bills would create more effective healthcare system

Posted 3/23/18

To the Editor:The letter published on March 20, 2018, titled “Health registry bills should be permanently put to rest,” contained a number of important inaccuracies.Most significantly, …

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Bills would create more effective healthcare system


To the Editor:
The letter published on March 20, 2018, titled “Health registry bills should be permanently put to rest,” contained a number of important inaccuracies.
Most significantly, the proposed legislation in question would not grant the Rhode Island Department of Health unrestricted access to information about people’s medications, medical procedures, pregnancies, counseling services, mental health, and other medical choices, as was stated. The legislation would (HB 7882 and SB 2530) only allow for the creation of a registry with information about adult immunizations. No other medical information would be collected. No one’s Social Security number would be collected, as was claimed in the letter.
While Rhode Island already has a childhood immunization registry, we are one of the last two states without an adult immunization registry. Our childhood immunization registry has helped Rhode Island have the best childhood immunization rate in the nation, and an adult registry would be as beneficial for Rhode Island. It would help us manage and respond to dangerous infectious diseases. Adult immunization registries also prevent unnecessary healthcare costs by making it less likely that a patient receives the same immunization multiple times.
Adult patients often receive care in many settings, such as pharmacies, doctors’ offices, urgent care facilities, emergency rooms, and senior centers. Adult immunization registries make it easier for all of these healthcare providers to know which vaccines are provided when and where. The aim of an adult immunization registry in Rhode Island would be to create a more coordinated, effective healthcare system, and to help keep Rhode Island adults healthy and safe.

Joseph Wendelken
Public Information Officer
Rhode Island Department of Health


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Mr. Wendelken claims "Inaccuracies": Would he/ RIDOH clarify the language in Bill H7882 page 2 line 5-10 “Provisions requiring the reporting of immunization status and *any other relevant information that the director determines appropriate* for all persons for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an immunization registry…” What would be an example of “any other relevant information”? Also , in line 9, what are “provisions of chapter 37.3 of title 5” ?In addition, regarding line 9-10 “any person may opt out of the disclosure of their immunization status by contacting the Department of Health”; would the RIDOH consider changing the language to “Any person may opt to join the registry by contacting the Department of Health” ?

We can all agree that a more effective healthcare system would be beneficial, but please clarify "Beneficial"? Do we want our our highly personal and sensitive information in a database where our information may possibly be viewed by "other parties" ? If RIDOH's true intentions are to serve the people, then the RIDOH should clarify and change the language to make the enrollment OPTIONAL. (and same for KIDSNET)

Thursday, March 29, 2018