A bill introduced today at the state legislature would lift the secrecy of medical records in Minnesota for people who have been dead for 50 years or more.
The provision is sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis. She said speculation last year about the death of baseball great Lou Gehrig prompted the proposed change to state law.
She said his treatment at the Mayo Clinic may shed light on his case. Gehrig died in 1941 after being diagnosed with ALS.
"It's a possibility that Lou Gehrig did not die of ALS, but may have been suffering from successive concussions," Kahn said. "Apparently that's a common misdiagnosis."
Kahn said her bill is modeled after proposed changes in federal regulations covering medical records.
"Before I was a legislator, I was a scientist," said Kahn, who has two Republican co-authors on the bill. "And I definitely believe that there's a benefit to the greatest availability of information."
The law would keep secret records of people who left a privacy directive when they died, or at the request of direct descendants. Mayo officials said in a statement they believe all medical records should remain private.