By Xavier Crayton-Bradford, State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (MDN) – Advocates for a state immunization registry heard concerns about privacy and security of medical information from the state’s health care community.

The House Committee on Health Insurance debated legislation Tuesday proposing a database of immunizations Missourians have received to improve efficiency in the state. Bill Sponsor Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis, gave an informal testimony and said the system may improve inefficiency with the Missouri health care system and protect the health of residents.

He said those providing immunizations are authorized to update and keep record of vaccines. Other registry users, such as doctors and nurses, would only be able to read files in the database. Patients would be allowed to opt out of the database program, with no requirement for mandatory immunizations.

Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, raised concerns about security of the system.

“Is there a way that we can do this without the names being on it,” she said. “I think people are really worried with all the problems that we’ve had with hacking.”

She and other members on the committee questioned whether the database can protect those that may use the system.

Jeff Howell, director of legal affairs and government relations for the Missouri State Medical Association, asked whether Missourians would be entered into the database involuntarily.

“We’d like to see an opt-in system rather than an opt-out system,” he said. “As a consumer of health care, I want more control over my health care decisions.”

The bill is HB 1445

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