Whatever Happened to HIPAA?
I share this story because I think the questions it raises are important. My husband had spinal surgery about three months ago. This brought up several issues including those with discharge planning, customer service and the fact that I am grateful I have a healthcare background. But what has happened in the last month is just plain, old disturbing. My husband has received five phone calls and at least one letter from lawyers who wanted to represent his disability case. Oh, and did I mention that my husband has not
filed for disability? Even worse was the fact that one of the lawyers mentioned that my husband's medical records indicate he would be eligible to go on disability.
This raised red flags as far as the eye can see. How did this lawyer see my husband's medical records? We had not contacted a lawyer. In fact, my husband is back to work part time already. He does not want to be on disability; he wants to work and he told this to the lawyer. But I digress ... because somewhere along the line, my husband's medical records have become public knowledge.
Even more aggravating is the fact that that very personal piece of "public knowledge" appears to have been put on a lawyers' mailing list. This concerns me to no end because we believed that there was at least a modicum of privacy in healthcare. It does not appear to me that there is.
And who violated his HIPAA rights? Was it the hospital, the insurance company, his job, the medical supply company or some other breakdown in communication? It would be impossible to track this because he had so much interaction with so many people.
I am sharing this because there is a big issue here and I believe we should all be on alert. Somewhere along this line we have lost our privacy and we need to know it.