By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The Senate will hold a series of statewide public hearings, starting today, on the medical records privacy law scheduled to take effect July 1.
The law creates a "free-flow" zone where medical information can be transferred freely among doctors, hospitals and health insurers that need it to treat patients and pay care providers. Patients must sign release forms before their health information can be moved outside that "free-flow" zone.
Last summer, legislators approved a bill delaying the effective date to July 1 to allow them to modify the measure during the Legislature session that begins Jan. 17.
"We have to look at current and proposed federal actions to determine whether there is any duplication or conflict between state law and federal requirements," said Ron Menor, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Housing.
"I would also like to hear from the medical privacy task force, which was instrumental in passage of the state legislation, and the concerns of Hawaiis citizens who will be affected by the law and who have a strong interest in protecting the privacy of their medical records."
The hearings will begin with one from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today at the State Capitol, Room 225.
Neighbor Island hearings will be held next week, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., as follows:
Monday in the Kauai County Council chamber, Lihue.
Tuesday in the Maui County Council chamber, Wailuku.
Wednesday at Kealakehe High School, Kona.
Thursday in the Hawaii County Council chamber, Hilo.
Those wishing to testify are asked to provide 15 copies of their testimony.
For more information, call 586-6740.
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