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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Help ASAN Defend HIPAA Privacy Rights at House E&C Oversight Subcommittee Hearing This Friday!

A young girl holds a protest sign that says "I am not a puzzle - I am a person"This Friday, April 26, the House Energy & Commerce Oversight Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Does HIPAA Help or Hinder Patient Care and Public Safety?” The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) will be attending the hearing in force to send a message by packing the room with supporters of disability rights – and they need your help! Join ASAN at 8:30 a.m. outside Room 2123, Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Attendees will receive an orange “Nothing About Us, Without Us!” t-shirt to wear during the hearing, so the Subcommittee sees a sea of orange-clad voters with disabilities in the audience. Background The Chairman of this Subcommittee, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), is leading an attack on the HIPAA privacy rights of people with psychiatric disabilities. From ASAN

Imagine the federal government holding conversations about your privacy – except yours is the only voice not at the table. This is what people with psychiatric disabilities are facing as the House Energy & Commerce Oversight Subcommittee takes up the issue of mental health and privacy rights under HIPAA. Rep. Tim Murphy, Chair of the House Energy & Commerce Oversight Subcommittee, is holding a hearing this Friday to try and argue that the HIPAA protections that protect the privacy of people seeking mental health services are unnecessary and a threat to public safety. Regrettably, Chairman Murphy has a history of threatening the rights of Americans with psychiatric disabilities. This Friday’s hearing is a continuation of a roundtable Rep. Murphy organized last month to try and showcase the inaccurate idea that people with psychiatric disabilities are more likely to commit violent crimes. Although empirical evidence shows no such link between psychiatric disabilities and violence, the roundtable made no acknowledgement of this simple fact. Furthermore, of all of the many witnesses called to testify, not a single person with a psychiatric disability was invited to share their perspective. When a caller on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program asked Rep. Murphy to explain his rationale for excluding the voices of people with psychiatric disabilities from the witness panel, he dismissed the need for the voices of people with disabilities themselves, claiming they would be incapable of testifying and that the most important conversation is one about parents’ and families’ experiences!

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