Tuesday, July 03, 2007

HIPAA Thoughts.....

There was a NY Times article about HIPAA today
And it really annoyed me
That the author wrote “Hipaa” Instead of HIPAA

Anyways, the article reflected on the unintended ramifications
Of privacy, that has leaked into Emergency Situations

I have worked in Health Care/ Community Services
I see the great things that HIPAA does

I know HIPAA
And with that knowledge, I was able to navigate information
When my father was sick:

My parents….have issues
One of these issues
Is that they hate doctors
My father is the most noncompliant patient
Which is not surprising with his Bipolar 1 Diagnosis
IN addition, he has diabetes II and high blood pressure
And he smokes with Asthma
(CALL THE HIPAA POLICE! I am releasing private health info!)

Anyways, my mother called me months ago
And told me my Dad couldn’t walk on his left foot
She then proceeded to tell me how much my father was driving her nuts
Asking her to “wait on him…hand and foot”

Two days before, I was over their house
And he was complaining of flu symptoms
And that he “sprained his ankle”
He did look pretty sick
I was worried about him
But thought he may have just caught a bad flu

So….when I had to interrupt my mother
And ask her:
“Did he ACTUALLY sprain his ankle? Did he actually bump into something?”
“No, I don’t think he did…but you know I am not feeling good….”
“Mom, he needs to call his doctor, like…now”
I was worried he had an infection in his joint
Causing his flu symptoms
Yeah I googled it
But I googled “infection in joint”
They would not
I went to their house
Checked up on my Dad
And called his doctor
The nurse gave me the HIPAA speech
I told her firmly that I didn’t want any information
That I was giving information to HER
Please convince him to come in
I handed the phone to my Dad
And he finally agreed to go….

After a trip to an after-hours urgent care facility
And a later trip to the ER
That involved an IV of antibiotics
A month of antibiotics
A cocktail of new drugs to get the diabetes
Cholesterol and high blood pressure
My father nearly lost his foot
To a raging case of cellulitis
My father was really sick for a month
And it took months for him to recover

What would have happened
If I backed down from the HIPAA police
As my father would have gotten a lot sicker
If I didn’t intervene?


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