"Stigma surrounding mental illness continues to exist within and outside of our health care system," the hospital added. "Unilaterally separating important clinical information about a patient's psychiatric treatment from other confidential information about that patient's medical care only works to reinforce that stigma."
Julie, however, disagreed, saying that while she recognized certain circumstances where her other doctors may need access to certain records such as medications she takes and dosages, they do not need to know what she discloses on a weekly basis to her therapist.
"You know I talked about problems in my family," she said. "I talked about things like … I wasn't talking to my mother. That was all in the therapy notes, for example."
In sharing her story, Julie wanted to come forward for those who couldn't.
"The difference in this situation is I actually chose to come here and I actually chose what I'm gonna say and what I'm not gonna say; but when my medical information is available to everybody, I don't have that decision," she said. "Somebody else is making that decision for me and that really makes me feel violated. So that's why I'm here: Because I think it's a really big problem and I wanted to do something about it. "
The Patient Privacy Toolkit offers helpful tools to help people make sure that their medical records remain confidential and don't end up for sale on the Internet. Below are just some of the forms and information one can find on the site:
Consent Forms are signed by both patient and health-care provider and clearly states that written permission must be attained before any information is shared.
The Opt Out of AMA Database statement requests the signature of a physician agreeing not to include a patient's prescription information in the American Medical Association's database.
Manage Your Consent helps a patient keep track -- with the use of a checklist -- which doctors have signed consent forms.
The following sites also provide useful information:
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Fact Sheet 8a: HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic
The HHS privacy principles fact sheets