In response to recent privacy concerns, the Office of Personnel Management soon might release more details on its plans to launch a new database containing health claims information on millions of U.S. residents, according to Harley Geiger, a policy counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, Computerworld reports.
In early October, OPM published a notice in the Federal Register describing its planned Health Claims Data Warehouse, which would help the agency manage the:
- Federal Employee Health Benefit Program;
- Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program; and
- Multi-State Option Plan (Vijayan, Computerworld, 11/9).
The federal health reform law called for the creation of the pre-existing condition insurance plan and the multistate option plan (iHealthBeat, 11/5).
The centralized database would include information on enrollees in the three programs, such as:
- Social Security numbers;
- Medical diagnoses; and
- Insurance coverage.
In late October, CDT and 15 other organizations sent a letter to OPM Director John Berry asking for more information on the health claims database and expressing concern about OPM's plans to share the data with law enforcement, third-party researchers and other entities.
The organizations argued that OPM should not establish the database without allowing the public to review its plans.
Possible Change of OPM's Plans
On Monday, Geiger said OPM has informed CDT that it soon will release more details on the health claims database, as well as privacy and security controls that will protect the information.
Geiger said OPM likely will delay the scheduled Nov. 15 launch of the database. He said OPM intends to publish a formal notice about the database in the Federal Register after reviewing public comments on the project.
An OPM spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny whether the agency plans to provide more details on the database or delay its launch, Computerworld reports (Computerworld, 11/9).