Here is an update on the CareDash/BetterHelp fiasco. Many members complained to CareDash and yesterday received the following form letter:
Aug 2, 2022, 15:43 ADT
Thanks for reaching out to CareDash! As a mental health provider, we understand your concerns regarding the importance of protecting your privacy and would be happy to help remove any personal information. We permit the redaction of a personal phone number or address and can flag profiles as retired or deceased, as needed. However, CareDash's policy is not to remove a profile since this information is of the interest to the general public.
While we provide information on healthcare providers and practices by aggregating information from various public sources, such as the NPI Registry, it is most important to us that you and your practice are appropriately represented on CareDash. The information disclosed on the NPI Registry are FOIA-disclosable and are required to be disclosed under the FOIA and the eFOIA amendments to the FOIA. There is no way to 'opt out' or 'suppress' the NPPES record data for health care providers with active NPIs.
We'd be happy to help you update your profile to ensure you and your practice are appropriately represented on CareDash. We permit the redaction of a personal phone number or address and can flag profiles as retired or deceased, as needed.
We've created this guide on how you can protect your privacy: https://www.caredash.com/articles/how-health-care-providers-can-protect-their-privacy. At CareDash, we're deeply committed to protecting the privacy of providers and keeping our data accurate, so please let us know if we may be misrepresenting you or your practice in any way in order for us to correct it immediately. The easiest way to ensure your data stays up-to-date is for you to take control of your profile by claiming and updating it on CareDash. Please follow the simple instructions here: https://www.caredash.com/portal.
Lastly, please visit the NPI Registry to edit the source of the public information we use: https://npiregistry.cms.hhs.gov. Many sites use this data and you may have accidentally placed personal information when registering for your NPI. Our team will periodically update our data to match what's in the NPI Registry if you choose not to claim and update your profile today. Please check back in a few weeks for your changes to be in effect.
CSWA regards this letter as disingenuous, since the issue is not just where CareDash found all our information, the NPI list, but how they are using it to restrict access to our services. CSWA has also discovered that CareDash is connected to Teledoc and Nufit Media, which we are looking into.
Several members suggested that CSWA consider filing lawsuits against CareDash. We are exploring this possibility with attorneys, are examining what the legal issue or issues might be (restraint of trade, kickbacks, possibly) and are determining the feasibility of filing a lawsuit (class action, through attorneys general, etc.). In addition, we are working with PsiAN to send a letter to the FTC.
Several members have reported that they sent letters to NPR and other groups that use BetterHelp as a sponsor objecting to the policies of CareDash and BetterHelp.
Please continue to send your individual letters to your state attorney general and the FTC about your objections to CareDash and BetterHelp policies. They have already made a difference in Maryland where the consumer protection department at first refused to look into the situation but changed its mind after a flood of complaints.
I will be sending weekly updates about the progress being made and/or new actions to be taken. Thanks to the over 300 members who let me know they have sent messages on the subject. Please continue to let me know if you have done so.
I also urge you to join the discussion in the comments at this link or use the button below.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
Clinical Social Work Association