Blue Shield of California revises vaccine contract after asking UC Health for patient data, report says

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Blue Shield of California, which is overseeing COVID-19 vaccine distribution for the state, initially wanted "expansive" patient data from the University of California Health System in Oakland, according to the Los Angeles Times

Six things to know:

1. The patient medical data was sought in exchange for vaccine doses under California's new COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Under the plan, Blue Shield of California oversees the state's vaccine rollout to California counties, pharmacies and private healthcare providers.

2. The ask for patient data prompted objections from UC Health, according to the Los Angeles Times. Heather Harper, a spokesperson for the health system, told the newspaper that Blue Shield of California revised its contract after UC Health representatives contacted the health insurer.

3. A spokesperson for Blue Shield of California denied that it requested access to patient data, according to the report. Rather, the spokesperson said the contract included standard language aimed at making sure records could be accessed if an audit was ever needed.

4. The new contract, which UC Health signed Feb. 25, limited "access just to vaccination records and only by federal and state agencies and their contractors," Ms. Harper told the Los Angeles Times. UC Health didn't specify what patient data Blue Shield of California had initially sought beyond saying it was a "seemingly expansive scope."

5. The revised contract reviewed by the Los Angeles Times showed Blue Shield of California would have three years of access to data that are "vaccine-related, financial, and other records and reports." The insurer said the contract isn't a request for three years of data, but rather aims to ensure data about the vaccine network's performance aren't destroyed for three years.

6. Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California's president, told the Los Angeles Times, "it would be completely inappropriate" for the health insurer to use patient data from the state's program for business. "It's simply not going to happen and is contractually forbidden," he said.

Read more here.

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