August 15 Federal Register
announced the federal government's proposed regulation to withhold
Medicare payments from long-term care facilities that do not
provide (offer and recommend) flu and pneumonia vaccines to
to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), approximately
2 million people reside in nursing homes (long-term care facilities). An estimated 74 percent are
vaccinated against flu. HHS's
goal is 90 percent.
proposed rule, however, states, "The resident or the resident's
legal representative must be provided
the opportunity to refuse immunization. If the resident or the
resident's legal representative refuses immunization, the facility
must ensure the resident or the resident's legal representative
receives appropriate education and consultation regarding the
benefits of influenza immunization." (Emphasis added.)
continues, "[W]e believe it vital that facilities secure the
consent of their residents or legal representative for vaccination
and provide their residents with vaccinations." However, a clear, concise right respecting written
informed consent is not delineated in the proposed rule. HHS should clarify its support
for written informed consent.
No senior (or other citizen) should be coercively vaccinated
or treated. Seniors should be informed of their right to refuse
vaccination, and the written consent form should specify not
only the purported benefits, but also the risks
of any treatment.
conflicts with freedom, whether it's direct or indirect (the
latter including not being fully informed about one's right
to refuse vaccination). Consent
is a precious ethic that must always be upheld in the United States and worldwide.
citizens should submit their public comments to HHS by 5 p.m.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005. Submit
(attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel;
Microsoft Word is preferred)
mail: Send one original and two copies to the following
address ONLY: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department
of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-3198-P, P.O. Box
8010, Baltimore, MD 21244-8010.
HHS says to allow sufficient time for mailed comments
to be received before the close of the comment period.
or overnight mail:
Send one original and two copies to the following address ONLY:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health
and Human Services, Attention: CMS-3198-P, Mail Stop C4-26-05,
7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.
further information contact:
Anita Panicker (410) 786-5646, Jeannie Miller (410) 786-3164
or Rachael Weinstein (410) 786-6775.
Press release, "CMS Proposal Would Require Nursing Homes to
Vaccinate Residents Against the Flu," August 11, 2005: (http://www.cms.hhs.gov/media/press/release.asp?Counter=1534).
and Medicaid Programs; Condition of Participation: Immunization
Standard for Long Term Care Facilities," Federal Register, August 15, 2005 (Volume 70, Number
156), pages 47759-47771: (http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/
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Growth in Federal Health Programs
Results in Massive Collection of Personal Information
though public-opinion polls show that Americans care deeply
about medical privacy and strongly support the requirement of
informed consent before personal health information is shared,
federal officials are moving forward on the National Health
Information Network of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) without
rights in place. (Health privacy is defined as the freedom to
maintain a confidential relationship.) The Institute for Health
Freedom (IHF) has reported for some time on the federal
understand how such health-policy reform is occurring without the consent of the governed, one need only
look at the enormous growth in government to see how it is leading
to less and less privacy.
The following excerpts are from the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services' (CMS) recent Request for Information
from the health-care industry regarding electronic medical records.
They provide valuable facts for understanding the essentially
monopolistic power of Medicare.
"CMS is the largest purchaser
of health care in the United States, and as such has a significant
interest in the health and well being of its Medicare beneficiaries" (emphasis added).
"CMS has one of the
largest stores of health data in the country,
with robust claims history for all of
its Medicare beneficiaries" (emphasis added).
"CMS collects a wide
variety of data on our Medicare beneficiaries. For example, 100% of Medicare fee-for-service
claims information is collected and stored" (emphasis
"CMS will also be collecting
100% of claims paid for drugs under the new Medicare
Part D benefit" (emphasis added).
"With the addition
of the prescription drug benefit in 2006, CMS will have claims
information on virtually all types of services that Medicare
beneficiaries receive" (emphasis added).
"CMS maintains clinical
and functional assessment data for patients in nursing homes
and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, as well as for those
served by home health agencies."
bottom line is that if the federal government (the largest payer
of health care in the United States!) is paying doctor and hospital
bills, it is going to want to review, study, and analyze health-insurance
it is time to reform our nation's health-care system so that
citizens receive cash directly from insurers (private insurers,
Medicare, etc.) and pay their own bills (rather than having
payments sent to providers).
The United States relied on such a system for many years
until Medicare was created in 1965, and life
expectancy improved significantly under free-market health
statistics above show clearly that if Americans cherish their
longstanding rights to govern themselves and maintain privacy,
they are going to have to limit the role of government in their
lives. It's time
to consider empowering citizens with the responsibility to pay
their own health-care bills, choose their own medical treatments,
and maintain confidential relationships with the providers of
CMS's Request for Information on Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services' Role in Personal Health Records: http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/Newsletter/miscellaneous/Reference-Number-CMSRFIOESSAC1-HHS.doc
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Health Freedom Watch is published by the Insitute for Health Freedom. Editor: Sue Blevins; Assistant Editor: Deborah Grady. Copyright 2005 Institute for Health Freedom.