Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is State Government Forcing You to Report Your Childrens' Height and Weight?

The governor seems poised to ask you to have your child's Body Mass Index (BMI) put on a state registry. Apparently, some in government don't trust parents to teach their children healthy diet and exercise habits. Granted, many parents fail to provide this basic instruction, but the question is, is that the role of government?

Pediatrician Meg Edison doesn't think so. Here is her appeal to you to get involved, while there is still time. You have until tomorrow morning to appeal to the legislature to act to hold this up.

Governor Snyder has recently proposed a plan, unprecedented in our country, to have doctors report the Body Mass Index (BMI) of children into a state database, claiming it will be voluntary and anonymous. As a pediatrician, I believe this is a violation of our Hippocratic Oath on patient confidentiality. On a practical level, the claims of "voluntary" and "anonymous" are at odds with the facts.

This reporting will not be voluntary, anonymous, or confidential. The MCIR system (Michigan Care Improvement Registry, formerly Michigan Childhood Immunization Registry) was initially created to track childhood immunizations, but has since crept into tracking newborn hearing screens, newborn metabolic screens and now lead screening for Medicaid patients as well as expanding to cover adults.  

Snyder is proposing a "rule change" which bypasses the legislature to allow doctors to report BMI into the MCIR. Data is entered without parental consent, families have to ask to "opt-out" at which point the state will be notified in writing of this request--far from voluntary. This will ask doctors to report BMI on specific children with potential to track the BMI, the doctor's recommendations and compliance--far from anonymous. MCIR is accessible to all doctors, nurses, many office staff, schools, daycare providers, and health insurance providers irrespective of whether the child is a student or patient of those looking at the record--far from confidential.   

Governor Snyder has already indicated his desire to expand this program to cover adults as well. Unless we speak up, Michigan will be the first to do this, by executive order. 

Perhaps most disappointing is the silent approval by the Michigan State Medical Society and the overt approval by the Michigan Academy of Pediatrics on this issue. (Rest assured that the silent majority of practicing doctors are not represented by the vocal minority of administrative doctors in these organizations on this issue.) 

Please contact your representatives and senators today! Many lawmakers are uniformed and do not even have the rule change in hand. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) is made up of Senators Pappageorge, (C ) Meekhoff, Marleau, Hunter, Johnson & Reps Olson, (C ) Rendon, Horn, Constan, Bryrum. The committee has a hearing this Thursday, October 6, 9:00 a.m., 426 State Capitol Building.

Thank you, Meg Edison, M.D.


Anonymous said...

The issue is NOT BMI, it should be electronic health records in general. Once those are in place, they can get any data they want at any time. Your info will get hacked anyways. They'll probably drop the BMI thing in the end, its just being put out their as a diversion anyways. So you really can't get medical care now unless you want all your medical info "in the cloud"? Really?

Anonymous said...

Your medical info is already shared - that is what Ted Kennedy's HIPAA does - it allows sharing between healthcare entities.