Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hipaa gone wild

In case you've never heard of it, HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (I won't make nasty comments about who was co-president in 1996). This law helps in a lot of ways, one of them is in the area of privacy about your medical records.

However, many health care providers have trouble understanding this law. For example, if I call to get information on my wife's health care information, they won't give it to me. That's ok, we learned the way to fix that. We have medical directives, we have power of attorney and every time we see a doctor for any reason, we fill out forms to tell the docs they can share our information with our spouse. This way, I can find out anything on her, she can find out on me. Some couples may choose not to do that and I won't argue the reasons here. It's our choice.

So, I get this call from a health provider who won't share anything with me. She says it's her policy. All she will say is that she wants my wife to call her (it's to set up or reschedule an appointment, I know that - I even know the details of the appointment).

Well, in saying she was with a health provider and leaving a message, she has already violated the HIPAA law (if I wasn't authorized). I think this lady needs an education in HIPAA.

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