Category Archives: Health

FDA, FBI Raid Tulsa Cancer Clinic

Camelot Cancer Care center in Tulsa

Camelot Cancer Care center in Tulsa

Kaye Beach

April 25, 2013

The treatments offered at Tulsa’s Camelot Cancer Care enter were a last hope for some patients and their medications were taken right out of their hands. The video (at the link provided below) of the husband of a cancer patient interviewed, is heartbreaking.

The substance in question is Laetrile.

Back in the 1970′s,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examined the Laetril and found no significant safety issues with it but deemed Laetril ineffective and subsequently banned it. More than twenty states followed suit by legalizing the substance.  The debate surrounding the use of Laetril,  was and still is, huge.    Proponents of Laetrile say that the ban is all politics.

Whatever the case may be with this particular treatment, my question is do we have the right to choose our own medical treatments?

From Tulsa’s News on 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation shut down a Tulsa cancer clinic Tuesday afternoon. Federal agents showed up at Camelot Cancer Care in south Tulsa around 11 a.m. and served a search warrant.

Investigators have been tight-lipped about why they were there, but a source tells us the FDA is looking into the center’s use of Laetrile, and has a concern for the safety of its patients.

But one man speaks highly of Camelot and the natural chemical that he claims was saving his wife’s life.

“Listen, my wife’s dying, and we don’t want to go with chemotherapy and radiation,” said Sam Bass.

Read more and watch the video here

Integris Health Hospital Employee Balks at Patient Biometric Scans

palm vein

Kaye Beach
April 24, 2013

Almost no one would disagree that our government aided by its corporate partners, has become increasingly intrusive and data hungry. At every turn it seems we are being measured, monitored, tracked or surveyed in some way.  (If you are one of those who doesn’t care if you are constantly scrutinized by governments and corporations,  you can stop reading now.  I have no advice to offer you for your broken survival instinct.)

The level of surveillance of a population that will be achieved is predicated on four simple elements; 1) Money  2) Man power (or technology)  3) Political will  4) public acceptance of the surveillance.

For ordinary citizens who are alarmed about the implications of living in a pervasive surveillance state, element four, public acceptance, is the arena where we live or die and we know it. This is why I want to share with you one example of an ordinary citizen who has taken a stand in that arena.

Until yesterday, Maggie was a full time employee of INTEGRIS Hospital in Grove Oklahoma working in the patient registration department but the addition of a new biometric patient identification system at INTEGRIS has caused her to do some soul searching.

The use of biometrics in health care will likely increase in the  coming years as the industry shifts toward electronic medical records and other health information technologies as required under both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/By+Year/HD102010/$file/HD10.pdf

(Backgrounder-Find out what Health Care Reform is really about here)

Biometrics just means measurement of the body and refers to technology that is used to take these measurements and convert them to digital code for the purpose of identification.  When it comes to tracking, tracing, surveillance and control of the population, biometric identification is the ultimate tool for control and so we should be especially wary about the collecting of our biometric data.

Maggie is wary and has taken a stand against it.  She is suffering the consequences of doing so.

patientsecure 1

PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System

Back in Dec. of 2012 INTEGRIS began installing and started training using the PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System in the registration departments.  PatientSecure uses infrared light to scan and map the veins in the right palm of patients for identification purposes.  When PatientSecure was introduced there was no requirement for employees to enroll patients but according to Maggie, they were encouraged to do so.  Before long, pressure by INTEGRIS to enroll all patients into the PatientSecure system mounted as did Maggie’s concerns about the system.

Her objections to performing the biometric enrolment are twofold.

1) Maggie believes that the information given to patients about the benefits of PatientSecure is misleading.

2) Biometrically enrolling patients is a violation of her religious convictions.

I think it is important to point out that while biometric ID is often pitched as the way to irrefutably prove that you are who you say you are but that is not true.  Biometrics do not prove your identity.  Think about it.  The biometric data collected is attributed to the identity documents that a person provides.  If those identity documents are fraudulent, the addition of biometrics only reinforces the fraudulent identity.  In other words, garbage in, garbage out.

benefits patientsecure

Maggie writes, “We were told to inform patients that enrollment in the system would help prevent identify theft and insurance fraud on their accounts.”  Maggie doesn’t think that PatientSecure lives up to it’s own hype.

She is not alone.

PateintSecure – Inflated Claims

Experts in biometric systems have also pointed out that PatientSecure does not prevent identity fraud or theft.

Speaking specifically about Florida’s Baptist Health center’s new patient identification system, (which is PatientSecure, the same system used by Oklahoma’s INTEGRIS) a biometric technology professional points out that the system does not “stop identify theft” as claimed because the system can be easily circumvented at the time of enrollment.

To state the problem simply, PatientSecure uses a type of verification that “will not prevent a duplicate record from being created and opens the door for patients to enroll under multiple identities and commit fraud.”

(Source: M2sysy, ‘Biometric Patient Identification Technology Should Prevent Medical Identity Theft at the Point of Enrollment’ Dec. 18, 2012 http://blog.m2sys.com/comments-on-recent-biometric-news-stories/biometric-patient-identification-technology-should-prevent-medical-identity-theft-at-the-point-of-enrollment/)

A recent article posted at idRADAR, a privacy and identity security specific organization, makes a good point about the overselling of PatientSecure as a tool to prevent identity fraud;

“The palm scanner from PatientSecure has been adopted at numerous hospitals across the country.

As a tool to tackle medical identity theft and the theft of insurance benefits, palm scanner advocates argue that they’re a boost but an inquiring mind can see a number of other issues. What happens if someone has already stolen your medical data and their palm is the one scanned into the system? What would this mean if you had an emergency? Would you be denied care?”

(Source: idRADAR, ‘High Fives or Thumbs Down?’ Jan. 10, 2013 https://idradar.com/news-stories/technology/High-Fives-or-Thumbs-Down%3F)

PatientSecure suggests telling patients that “The next time you come in, you just give us your date of birth, we scan you hand and your record comes right up.” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

But in reality, it doesn’t necessarily work so smoothly.  Maggie says that “. . .patients who had previously enrolled would often not properly pull up an account when presenting their palm for scan.”  

Informed Consent or Coercive Consent?

Another big concern here is that INTEGRIS does not gain formal consent from patients and employees are not instructed to tell patients, up-front, that the palm scan is optional.

If you are a patient at INTEGRIS your first introduction to PatientSecure will probably go something like this at the registration desk.

Registrar: “I am now going to link you to your medical record. Please make a “5” with your hand and place it on the hand guide with your middle finger between the finger dividers. Move your hand forward till it stops.” 

Then you may be told that, “This is our new system to keep you safe by linking you to your medical record and take the best care of you. It will also speed up your registration process.”

And that, “By linking you to your medical record no one can impersonate you.  You are protected against identity theft and we can even identify you in an emergency situation” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

You will probably NOT be told that having your hand scanned for PatientSecure is completely optional.

Joel Reidenberg, a data privacy expert and professor at Fordham University Law School recently chided the vice president of NYU medical center for this exact policy omission when using PatientSecure.

. . . unless patients at N.Y.U. seem uncomfortable with the process, Ms. McClellan said, medical registration staff members don’t inform them that they can opt out of photos and scans.

“We don’t have formal consent,” Ms. McClellan said

Professor Reidenberg states that, “If they are not informing patients it is optional then effectively it is coerced consent.”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)

It is coercive because getting medical care is one of those essential human needs and few are going to do anything that might hinder their access to care.

“I reluctantly stuck my hand on the machine. If I demurred, I thought, perhaps I’d be denied medical care”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)                                        

Patients must be informed that providing their biometric data is OPTIONAL!  Formal consent is the most ethical way to handle this.

Taking a stand

In the early weeks of INTEGRIS’ use of PatientSecure, Maggie wrestled with her conscience about doing the scans on patients and since it was not required, she avoided doing them. Maggie also felt certain that it was only a matter of time before she would be called to account for the low number of patients she had palm scanned.

Maggie tells me that “After reflecting and praying, I felt compelled to no longer participate in the convincing and enrolling of patients into the biometrics palm vein system.  Not only did I feel that I was misleading the patients regarding the benefits of enrolling, I felt that my participation was a violation of my religious and spiritual beliefs.”

At this point Maggie spoke with her boss about her religious objections concerning the biometric scans and asked that she be exempted from enrolling patients in the PatientSecure biometric system. She was asked to produce some documentation regarding her religious beliefs and Maggie complied by provided a letter from Christian Pastor attesting to the sincerity of her religious convictions.

Consequences

Yesterday Maggie got some bad news.

She was asked to meet with her employer and was given a letter informing her that INTEGRIS could not accommodate her request to be exempted from the requirement of biometrically enrolling patients.  Instead INTEGRIS offered Maggie only one possible alternative.  She could be reassigned to another position and while the pay stayed the same as her current position the job would require a substantial commute with no travel differential allotted.

Now Maggie has to decide whether or not she will accept this position.  She is told she may try to find another position with INTEGRIS on her own but otherwise she will be terminated.

Maggie believes that her request for a religious accommodation is a reasonable one.  From her perspective the proffered alternative position seems more like punishment due to the drastic difference in travel time and also the hours and duties.

She notes, “It is also still not a “required” job function to use the palm scanners.  There are multiple people in my department that have never participated in the use of the palm scanners even though they register patients.  It has never been presented to us as official policy that we must use the palm scanners or that their use is a required function of our job.”

Some of us are wise to the dangers of collecting and sharing this data and we are beginning to see a few people, such as Maggie, that refuse to serve as unquestioning collectors and conduits of others’ personal and private information to the government and their corporate partners.

We will never know the stories of the countless people across this country every day that like Maggie, refuse to just go along with what they know to be dangerous and wrong.  But they are out there and each act of courage, each stand matters because they add up.

If we think what we do doesn’t matter, that resistance is futile, then we have already lost.  We can’t afford that.  Too much depends on the courage of each and every one of us.

Maggie is an example of what that courage looks like.

Resistance is the best tool we have in our arsenal to beat back Big Brother.


IRS facing class action suit for medical record breach

irs

Kaye Beach

March 14, 2013

Via HealthITSecurity.com;

A HIPAA-covered entity of the Southern District of California announced today that it is suing 15 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents for “an unlawful search and seizure conducted on March 11, 2011.” Though the surrounding details of the health data breach and pending class action lawsuit are minimal, Courthousenews.com reports that IRS agents have been accused of improperly accessing and taking 10 million medical records, such as the personal health records of all California state judges.

Read more

Gov. Fallin: Oklahoma Will Not Pursue a State-Based Exchange or Medicaid Expansion

Press Release

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gov. Fallin: Oklahoma Will Not Pursue a State-Based Exchange or Medicaid Expansion

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today released the following statement announcing that Oklahoma will not pursue the creation of a state-based exchange or participate in the Medicaid expansion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA):

“For the past few months, my staff and I have worked with other lawmakers, Oklahoma stakeholders and health care experts across the country to determine the best course of action for Oklahoma in regards to both the creation of a health insurance exchange and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Our priority has been to ascertain what can be done to increase quality and access to health care, contain costs, and do so without placing an undue burden on taxpayers or the state. As I have stated many times before, it is my firm belief that PPACA fails to further these goals, and will in fact decrease the quality of health care across the United States while contributing to the nation’s growing deficit crisis.

“Despite my ongoing opposition to the federal health care law, the state of Oklahoma is legally obligated to either build an exchange that is PPACA compliant and approved by the Obama Administration, or to default to an exchange run by the federal government. This choice has been forced on the people of Oklahoma by the Obama Administration in spite of the fact that voters have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to the federal health care law through their support of State Question 756, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the implementation of key components of PPACA.

“After careful consideration, I have today informed U.S. Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius that Oklahoma will not pursue the creation of its own health insurance exchange. Any exchange that is PPACA compliant will necessarily be ‘state-run’ in name only and would require Oklahoma resources, staff and tax dollars to implement. It does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government, that is opposed by a clear majority of Oklahomans, and that will further the implementation of a law that threatens to erode both the quality of American health care and the fiscal stability of the nation.

“Furthermore, I have also decided that Oklahoma will not be participating in the Obama Administration’s proposed expansion of Medicaid. Such an expansion would be unaffordable, costing the state of Oklahoma up to $475 million between now and 2020, with escalating annual expenses in subsequent years. It would also further Oklahoma’s reliance on federal money that may or may not be available in the future given the dire fiscal problems facing the federal government. On a state level, massive new costs associated with Medicaid expansion would require cuts to important government priorities such as education and public safety. Furthermore, the proposed Medicaid expansion offers no meaningful reform to a massive entitlement program already contributing to the out-of-control spending of the federal government.

“Moving forward, the state of Oklahoma will pursue two actions simultaneously. The first will be to continue our support for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s ongoing legal challenge of PPACA. General Pruitt’s lawsuit raises different Constitutional questions than previous legal challenges, and both he and I remain optimistic that Oklahoma’s challenge can succeed.

“Our second and equally important task will be to pursue state-based solutions that improve health outcomes and contain costs for Oklahoma families. Serious reform, for instance, should be pursued in the area of Medicaid and public health, where effective chronic disease prevention and management programs could address the trend of skyrocketing medical bills linked to avoidable hospital and emergency room visits. I look forward to working with legislative leaders and lawmakers in both parties to pursue Oklahoma health care solutions for Oklahoma families.”

Uh Oh! Scientists show Ebolavirus can be transmitted by air

Kaye Beach

Nov. 16, 2012

Truly frightening!  Look what just rolled across the ProMed newswire;

EBOLAVIRUS AEROSOL TRANSMISSION, PIG TO PRIMATE

Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of Ebolavirus
could be transmitted by air between species.

In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them. The
researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might
be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa.
They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal
infection. Details of the research were published in the journal

Scientific Reports [Hana M Weingartl et al. Transmission of Ebola
virus from pigs to non-human primates.

 

Scientific Reports 2, Article
number 811, doi:10.1038/srep00811;
<http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/121115/srep00811/full/srep00811.html>].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets
into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs,
and other bodily fluids from a number of species, including
chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest antelope. The fruit bat has long
been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing
body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and
domestic, could be a hidden source of Zaire Ebolavirus, the most
deadly of the Ebolaviruses. Now, researchers from the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency and the country’s Public Health Agency have shown
that pigs infected with this form of Ebolavirus can pass the disease
on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.

In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens
with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier.
After 8 days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical
of Ebolavirus [infection] and were euthanised. One possibility is that
the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets
produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs. Pigs could act as a
host and amplify Ebola-like viruses. One of the scientists involved is
Dr Gary Kobinger from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the
Public Health Agency of Canada. He told BBC News this was the most
likely route of the infection. “What we suspect is happening is large
droplets; they can stay in the air, but not long; they don’t go far,”
he explained. “But they can be absorbed in the airway, and this is how
the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot
of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got
in that way.”

The scientists say that their findings could explain why some pig
farmers in the Philippines had antibodies in their system for the
presence of a different version of the infection called Reston
Ebolavirus. The farmers had not been involved in slaughtering the pigs
and had no known contact with contaminated tissues. Dr Kobinger
stresses that the transmission in the air is not similar to influenza
or other infections. He points to the experience of most human
outbreaks in Africa. “The reality is that they are contained, and they
remain local; if it was really an airborne virus like influenza is, it
would spread all over the place, and that’s not happening.”

The authors believe that more work needs to be done to clarify the
role of wild and domestic pigs in spreading the virus. There have been
anecdotal accounts of pigs dying at the start of human outbreaks. Dr
Kobinger believes that if pigs do play a part, it could help contain
the virus. “If they do play a role in human outbreaks, it would be a
very easy point to intervene,” he said. “It would be easier to
vaccinate pigs against Ebolavirus infection than humans.”

Other experts in the field were concerned about the idea that
Ebolavirus was susceptible to being transmitted by air even if the
distance the virus could travel was limited. Dr Larry Zeitlin is the
president of Mapp Biopharmaceuticals. “It’s an impressive study that
not only raises questions about the reservoir of Ebolavirus in the
wild but, more importantly, elevates concerns about Ebola as a public
health threat,” he told BBC News. “The thought of airborne
transmission is pretty frightening.”

[byline: Matt McGrath]


communicated by:
ProMED-mail <promed@promedmail.org>

[The reference for the original publication is: Hana M Weingartl,
Carissa Embury-Hyatt, Charles Nfon, Anders Leung, Greg Smith, Gary
Kobinger. Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates.
Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 811 doi:10.1038/srep00811;
<http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/121115/srep00811/full/srep00811.html>.
The abstract of the paper reads as follows:

"Ebola viruses (EBOV) cause often fatal hemorrhagic fever in several
species of simian primates including humans. While fruit bats are
considered the natural reservoir, involvement of other species in EBOV
transmission is unclear. In 2009, Reston-EBOV was the 1st EBOV
detected in swine with indicated transmission to humans. In-contact
transmission of Zaire-EBOV (ZEBOV) between pigs was demonstrated
experimentally. Here, we show ZEBOV transmission from pigs to
cynomolgus macaques without direct contact. Interestingly,
transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was never
observed. Piglets inoculated oro-nasally with ZEBOV were transferred
to the room housing macaques in an open, inaccessible cage system. All
macaques became infected. Infectious virus was detected in oro-nasal
swabs of piglets and in blood, swabs, and tissues of macaques. This is
the 1st report of experimental interspecies virus transmission, with
the macaques also used as a human surrogate. Our finding may influence
prevention and control measures during EBOV outbreaks."

These experiments are interesting in that they demonstrate the
susceptibility of pigs to Zaire Ebolavirus and that the virus from
infected pigs can be transmitted to macaques under experimental
conditions by an aerosol route. They fall short of establishing that
this is a normal route of transmission of Ebolavirus in the natural
environment. The evidence that pigs play a role in the transmission of
Ebolavirus, other than Reston Ebolavirus, remains circumstantial but
something that should be pursued with urgency. It is curious that
transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was never
observed. - Mod.CP

Clearly Ebolavirus is very contagious but there is only weak
circumstantial evidence that transmission from pigs occurs via the
porcine breath aerosol. Anyone who has been around pigs knows that
they urinate and not in dribbles. Splashing urine (+ Ebolavirus) could
readily produce a urine mist that could make its way to an immediately
adjoining cage with macaques and in their grooming themselves get
infected. - Mod.MHJ
]

CCHF: Cost Savings from Electronic Health Records Is Hype

Kaye Beach

Oct. 22, 2012

From the Citizens Council for Health Freedom’s Oct. 2012 Newsletter. (If you are not subscribed to this free informative newsletter, you can do so here)

 

HHS has spent $25 billion of Recovery Act funds on health IT.

A new extensive study on the use of health information technology (IT) shows that the purported cost savings associated with electronic health records (EHR) is more hype than reality. Researchers from McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario, and scholars from other research centers (including U.S.-based centers) poured through almost 36,000 research studies of health IT. They were able to identify 31 that specifically addressed the outcomes of cost savings from health IT. The Wall Street Journal reports:
With a few isolated exceptions, the preponderance of evidence shows that the [health IT] systems had not improved health or saved money.
The authors of “The Economics of Health Information Technology in Medication Management: A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluations” found no evidence from four to five decades of studies that health IT reduces overall health costs. Three studies examined in that McMaster review incorporated the gold standard of evidence: large randomized, controlled trials. They provide the best measure of the effects of health IT systems on total medical costs.
A study from Regenstrief, a leading health IT research center associated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, found that there were no savings, and another from the same center found a significant increase in costs of $2,200 per doctor per year. The third study measured a small and statistically questionable savings of $22 per patient each year.
In short, the most rigorous studies to date contradict the widely broadcast claims that the national investment in health IT – some $1 trillion will be spent, by our estimate – will pay off in reducing medical costs. Those studies that do claim savings rarely include the full cost of installation, training and maintenance – a large chunk of that trillion dollars – for the nation’s nearly 6,000 hospitals and more than 600,000 physicians. But by the time these health-care providers find out that the promised cost savings are an illusion, it will be too late. . . . [All emphasis added.]
As cited above, it is estimated that the United States will spend some $1 trillion on health IT. Billions of dollars from the Recovery Act of 2009 have already been spent on it. The federal government’s Recovery Act-Funded Programs website shows that HHS has spent over $25 billion on health IT as of January 2012. Of that, $20.6 billion was spent on the Medicare and Medicaid EHRs Incentive Program, while another $2 billion was spent on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Implementation Plan.
Yet the federal government recently questioned whether now is the time to move forward with regulations for a National Health Information Network. In response to its request, HHS received over 140 comments on the proposed nationwide health information network, according to ModernHealthCare.com. The article notes that the federal government concluded that “now is not the time, probably, to pursue a regulatory approach that follows what we laid out in the RFI [request for information].” [Emphasis added.]
Furthermore, an analysis of Medicare data by the New York Times says:
The move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care. . . . Regulators say physicians have changed the way they bill for office visits similarly, increasing their payments by billions of dollars as well.
As a result, four committee chairs in the U.S. House have called for the suspension of “meaningful use” incentive payments “until your agency [HHS] promulgates universal interoperable standards” that would “also require a commensurate delay of penalties for providers who choose not to integrate HIT into their practice.” The October 4 letter is signed by Reps. Dave Camp, Fred Upton, Wally Herger, and Joe Pitts.
Americans must demand accountability and corrective action from policymakers for the enormous financial investment in health IT, which has not proven to save money or lives, according to the empirical evidence cited above.
Sources:

Health Freedom Watch is a monthly email newsletter published by the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (formerly Citizens’ Council on Health Care), a national nonprofit, educational organization whose mission is to support patient and doctor freedom, medical innovation and the right to a confidential patient-doctor relationship. Health Freedom Watch provides reports on national and state policies that impact citizens’ freedom to choose their health-care treatments and practitioners, and to maintain their health privacy – including genetic privacy. Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) is not affiliated with any other organization. © Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom.

The Government Wants Your Children – An Analysis of Recent Education Reforms and The Resulting Impact On Student Privacy

Kaye Beach

September 24, 2012

Every parent should be aware of what information is being gathered and for what purpose, on their children and their families.  These days, when they say “permanent record”  They mean it!

‘. . .schools are collecting much more information than parents imagine. Not only can parents NOT ask to see records of which they are unaware, but records kept out from under the watchful eye of a parent can collect and store damaging information and “When you put something into digital form, you can’t control where that’ll end up.” (Koebler)’

This is extremely valuable information and analysis from R.O.P.E -Restore Oklahoma Public Education, originally published July 25, 2012.

This is our latest piece of research. It contains information on how the state and federal governments are collecting copious amounts of data for every public school child under the guise of Education Reform. It also explains how, in Oklahoma, our P20 Council (created in order to pave the way for the State Longitudinal Database System which stores student data) is attempting to find ways to collect data from home school and privately schooled students!

An Analysis of Recent Education Reforms and the Resulting Impact on Student Privacy

Smartworld: Identity Profiling With Radio Frequency

Kaye Beach

September 6, 2012

Excellent, information and reference packed article!  More than you ever wanted to know about RFID.

Published Sept. 4, 2012

Julie Beal, Contributor
Activist Post

RFID, or radio frequency identification (also known as near field communication, or NFC) is used for wireless communication between devices, one of which is a transmitter and the other is a receiver. This involves the use of low frequency radio waves passing between the devices; it is in widespread use, although the impact on health is rarely alluded to. RFID is being used for a multitude of applications involving sensing and communication of information, especially ID verification using smart cards/phones, miniscule sensors known as smart dust, bodily implants, and product tracking.

There are already many well-established ID Management companies who are also using or advocating RFID and biometrics. These companies are heavily involved in the emerging global identity ecosystem (eg, the NSTIC program, the work of the ITU, and the European initiatives, including STORK), and include Accenture, IBM, Verisign/Symantec and Oracle. The industry has grown significantly and the trend looks set to continue – especially considering the heavy investment by leading corporations like Google, IBM, and Microsoft.

The smart card industry is playing a leading role in identity management, indicating that in the near future the public will expect to manage their digitised identity with extrinsic devices such as contactless cards and mobile phones.

In Denver, for instance, Auraria Higher Education Center recently decided to issue new contactless smart cards to students (over 43,000 of them), and to staff. The cards will control door access using RFID, and will even serve as Visa debit cards. The plan is to eventually integrate the cards with other applications for student services, including parking, meal payment, library checkout, event management, emergency incidents, and lab and recreational tracking.

Read more

Baby seal die off caused by bird flu, possible threat to humans

Kaye Beach

August 4, 2012

Here is some interesting and slightly concerning news for fellow flu-watchers.

Date: Tue 31 Jul 2012
Source: CIDRAP News [abbreviated & edited]
<http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/jul3112se=alflu.html>

A research team that analyzed the strain of H3N8 influenza virus
linked to a baby seal die-off in New England last year [2011, see
ProMED-mail archived reports below] found that it originated in birds
and has adapted to mammals, signalling a possible threat to humans and
animals alike. The study, which appeared today [31 Jul 2012] in the
mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology
(ASM), also revealed mutations that are known to make flu viruses more
transmissible and able to cause severe disease. [Anthony SJ, St Leger
JA, Pugliares K, et al. Emergence of fatal avian influenza in New
England harbor seals. mBio 31 Jul 2012,
<http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/4/e00166-12.full>.]

. . .Scientists gave the new virus the provisional name influenza A/harbor
seal/Massachusetts/1/2011. The group found mutations previously
detected in H5N1 viruses that infected humans and wrote that the H3N8
virus in seals had acquired the ability to bind sialic acid receptors
that are commonly found in mammal respiratory tracts.

. . .The researchers concluded that natural emergence of a pathogenic virus
that can transmit between mammals, and in a species that can be
infected with multiple flu subtypes, is considered a significant
threat to wildlife and human health

Read the entire article here

Oklahoma Bill will provide drug data

Kaye Beach

April, 11, 2012

In order to create the Prescription Monitoring Program in the first place, they had to reassure citizens and their elected officials that even though personal medical information was being exposed to the cops and other bureaucrats, it wouldn’t go any further.  Now that the program is in place, now comes the slow but sure expansion of sharing that data.  Right now it is just statistical data being shared with a few more select stakeholders but this is just the first step.  (See article below)

The Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program tracks all drugs Schedule II-V, not just opioids like Vicodin as mentioned in the article.  And naturally since the federal government has applied ample amounts of  both the carrot and the stick to the states to create these tracking programs, now they want to link them all up.

“Now that 48 states have authorized PMPs, it is high time we get these systems linked up to eliminate the interstate doctor shopping which has been fueling the pill pipeline around our country,” Rogers continued. “The ID MEDS Act paves the way for secure prescription data exchange so that doctors and pharmacists around the country will be able to make informed decisions about prescribing these powerful drugs, and law enforcement can more easily root out corrupt drug dealers. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important legislation.” Read more

Here is an insightful comment about the Prescription Monitoring Programs that I just had to share.  From JasonPye.com

It’s funny, when ObamaCare was passed last year. Republicans claimed that it would interfere with doctor-patient relationships, etc. But when pushing a bill that could cause doctors to under-prescribe patients because of the fear that they could be tied to someone that is doctor shopping. While this concern will be downplayed, it’s a serious issue that has ruined careers and caused patients to suffer unnecessarily. Read more

 

From Tulsa Today

Bill will provide drug data

Written by Staff Report Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Oklahoma Sen. Gary Stanislawski said a bill allowing access to statistical data about drug prescriptions has been approved by both chambers and is one step closer to becoming law.   Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is principal author of Senate Bill 1065, which deals with the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).  The database is maintained by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) to track prescriptions of specific types of drugs, like Vicodin.

Physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement can access the PMP to search a patient’s prescription history.  The purpose was to identify patients who would visit multiple doctors to obtain duplicate prescriptions, raising flags about possible addiction or the illegal distribution of dangerous drugs.

“When the PMP was created, there were concerns about the inappropriate disclosure of private medical information, and so it was a misdemeanor to share any of this data with the public or the press,” Stanislawski said. 

Read More