Ambulance companies and other first response service providers in New York State will no longer be allowed to use patient data for marketing. These companies are also forbidden from selling patient data to third parties after the patient privacy bill was signed into law last October 7 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Jessica Davis filed this report for Health IT Security:

The new law bans the sale of patient data, or individually identifying information to third parties, outside of sales to health providers, the patient’s insurer, and other parties with appropriate legal authority. Under the law, all information that can be used to identify a patient is protected from sales for marketing purposes, such as advertising, detailing, marketing, promotion, or any activity used to influence sales.

The law does not prohibit patient data from being disclosed, sold, transferred or exchanged to the patient in question, an individual authorized to make healthcare decisions for the patient, or a healthcare provider providing care or treatment to the patient and the sale is meant for the purpose of such care.

Health information systems subject to department regulations for treatment purposes, government health inspectors, subpoenaed data, the patient’s health plan, or other related circumstances are not banned under the law. “In addition to the commissioner’s authority to enforce this section…. the attorney general shall have the authority to bring an action to enforce compliance with this section without referral by the commissioner,” according to the legislation.

The bill was first introduced by New York Assembly Member Edward Braunstein in 2014, after reports that some first responders were selling protected health information for fundraising and marketing purposes. “Patients have a right to privacy and their medical information should never be sold to pharmaceutical companies, insurers, nursing homes, or other businesses,” Braunstein said in a statement. “Nothing is more personal than your health records,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This law sets clear guidelines so patient information isn’t sold or used for marketing purposes and most importantly doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.”