To the Editor:
The letter published on March 20, 2018, titled “Health registry bills should be permanently put to rest,” contained a number of important inaccuracies.
Most significantly, the proposed legislation in question would not grant the Rhode Island Department of Health unrestricted access to information about people’s medications, medical procedures, pregnancies, counseling services, mental health, and other medical choices, as was stated. The legislation would (HB 7882 and SB 2530) only allow for the creation of a registry with information about adult immunizations. No other medical information would be collected. No one’s Social Security number would be collected, as was claimed in the letter.
While Rhode Island already has a childhood immunization registry, we are one of the last two states without an adult immunization registry. Our childhood immunization registry has helped Rhode Island have the best childhood immunization rate in the nation, and an adult registry would be as beneficial for Rhode Island. It would help us manage and respond to dangerous infectious diseases. Adult immunization registries also prevent unnecessary healthcare costs by making it less likely that a patient receives the same immunization multiple times.
Adult patients often receive care in many settings, such as pharmacies, doctors’ offices, urgent care facilities, emergency rooms, and senior centers. Adult immunization registries make it easier for all of these healthcare providers to know which vaccines are provided when and where. The aim of an adult immunization registry in Rhode Island would be to create a more coordinated, effective healthcare system, and to help keep Rhode Island adults healthy and safe.
Public Information Officer
Rhode Island Department of Health