A comprehensive health reform plan from conservatives in the House and Senate would authorize health records banks that collect and maintain individuals' medical records. Under the health records bank model, a trusted entity collects a patient's paper and electronic medical records from physicians, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and other sources. Each bank account contains an electronic copy of an individual's health record. Individuals control who accesses their data and what data can be accessed. A health records bank generally would be funded through account fees charged to individuals or sponsors, such as provider organizations or health plans. "This act proposes adopting the same model used by the financial services industry in promoting the use of automated teller machines," according to a summary of the Patients' Choice Act of 2009, introduced on May 20. "Individuals could get a card--just like their ATM card--that would maintain their insurance and medical history information from an independent health record bank. Every time you visit your doctor, you would swipe the card for instant access to your medical history and insurance payment information." Bill sponsors include Sens. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The bills, S. 1099 and H.R. 2520, soon will be available on the congressional Web site at congress.gov. This article can also be found at HealthDataManagement.com.

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