[ Thursday, July 30, 2009 ]


Guest Post: I got a request to allow a guest post, and since I'm lazy enough to let anyone write for me, I decided to allow it. See below:

HIPAA Enforcement – When It Matters and When it Doesn’t

The HIPAA rule that protects patient privacy has been around for some time now, and it has always been in the midst of some controversy or the other. Recently though, there have been instances of people taking it to both the extremes – either blatantly violating it or adhering to it rigidly and incorrectly.

On the one hand, Michael Jackson’s death has only succeeded in bringing out of the woodwork his doctors and nurses who were more than happy to go on television and other forms of media to tell the world all about Jacko and his multiple health problems and addictions. As far as they’re concerned, it’s their big chance at publicity, probably the biggest opportunity of their lives. They don’t seem to care that they’re blatantly violating the HIPAA rule that says doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession are not allowed to share confidential patient records and information with anyone.

Anyone who knows anything about the HIPAA knows that patients must expressly provide their permission for one doctor to send his/her records to another doctor, unless it is for treatment, payment, healthcare operations, or some other allowed purposes and the sending doctor has provided a Notice of Privacy Practices to the patient. So how do these doctors get away with shooting their mouths off just because it puts them in the limelight?

One the other side of the coin though is the mother who found herself unceremoniously escorted out of the dentist’s office even as her eight-year-old son was in the chair waiting to be treated. Apparently the clinic took its HIPAA policies too far when they decided that a little boy’s medical records were meant to be kept private, even from his mother.

While HIPAA applies to minors just as it does to adults, except in extreme circumstances parents (as legal guardians) are considered the “personal representative” of the minor, and have the right to make the right medical decisions for their children. Besides this, there is also the obvious reason parents stay with their children in doctors’ offices – to hold their hands and offer comfort in a potentially frightening situation. And when nurses and doctors cannot understand that there is need for compassion more than privacy in this case, the purpose of HIPAA is not solved at all.

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly writes on the topic of
ekg tech . Kat welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: katsanders25@gmail.com.

Jeff [10:34 AM]

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