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Oklahoma is invading the privacy of mental health patients

Last year, state lawmakers in Oklahoma passed SB 1369, the Oklahoma Healthcare Transparency Initiative Act. The legislation requires all healthcare providers to enter patient records into an online database.

Set to go into effect on July 1, the measure specifically requires providers to quote “submit health and dental claims data, unique identifiers, and geographic and demographic information for covered individuals to the Oklahoma Healthcare Transparency Initiative”.

In advance of implementation, mental health care providers in Oklahoma are raising concerns about patient privacy and confidentiality. We spoke with Sabrina DeQuasie, a therapist in Oklahoma.

We reached out to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma’s Medicaid Agency. This is their statement below:


OHCA Invites Continued Feedback Regarding OKSHINE/HIE

Oklahoma City, OK – SB1369, passed in the 2022 legislative session, requires OHCA to set up a separate office, the Office of the State Coordinator for Health Information Exchange, with responsibility to oversee a statewide health information exchange with patient data from all healthcare providers. The proposed rules for the program were first introduced in September and have gone through two rounds of public comments, resulting in more than 300 comments. These comments, along with input from the public and dozens of stakeholder engagement meetings, are guiding and informing the implementation process. OHCA is grateful for the feedback of Oklahoma patients and providers.

The opportunity to utilize the HIE is significant, with potential to reduce adverse drug events, redundant testing, and promote a culture of improved collaboration among different healthcare providers, resulting in a more streamlined, holistic health care approach for Oklahomans. The agency understands the importance of privacy considerations in this effort and is working to ensure best practices and appropriate privacy safeguards, including all legal and licensure requirements under HIPAA and other applicable state and federal laws.

The proposed rules allow temporary exemptions based on size, technological capability or financial hardship. OHCA is actively engaging with providers to discuss exemption criteria for specific provider types regarding transmission of data restrictions, with a particular focus on behavioral health, and are expecting to revise the proposed rules to apply exemptions based on provider type.

After the passage of SB 1369, the rule proposal is the first step in a thorough process to develop regulations that will achieve the desired benefits for Oklahoma’s citizens, serving the needs of providers and patients alike. To ensure your concerns are addressed, OHCA invites you to be a part of the conversation. Please send your feedback through the new comments feature on oklahoma.gov/ohca/okshine. This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.


The Takeaway is a one-hour daily news show that reveals unexpected insights into the day’s news, fills a need for greater context, and interacts with audiences in a way that no other public radio news program offers.

Melissa Harris-Perry was named Host and Managing Editor of The Takeaway, the nationally-syndicated public radio news program, in October 2021. Harris-Perry served as interim host since July 2021.
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