“If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.” — Kahlil Gibran
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules
Good old HIPAA has been around for a while. I’m sure overall it’s a good thing to ensure a level of privacy, at all times, for any patient, regardless of what issues they are battling.
When I worked in management, in a different lifetime, I was “schooled” on HIPAA when it became law. It required me, at that time to KNOW, without doubt, what could be said and more importantly what could NOT be said or communicated, along with many other points of the law.
I no longer work in management, but I do volunteer at a hospital, so I am still “bound” by the HIPAA laws.
I know when I got extremely sick and was on my fast and furious journey to a heart transplant, my family was thankful that HIPAA was in effect. The people I worked with, and those that were very close friends of mine or that I associated with socially had NO idea where I was, what was wrong, or what I was going through. I have some very industrious and intelligent friends who tried and tried, using some crazy, perhaps illegal electronic methods in an effort to locate me …. and to them, I was like the FBI television show, “Without a Trace”, where people disappeared ….. I simply vanished. Some were even looking through obituaries, driving by my house, all kinds of stuff, looking for any clue.
As with many families, mine can be VERY private during times of crisis. At that point time, when I was so sick, it was my family’s wishes for privacy. They were trying to cope with my rapid, daily spiral down the drain. That was all they could handle. My boss and his boss knew what was going on, but they had to follow the letter of the law. Their lips were zipped.
The bad with the good ….. Now, for my opinion on one of the negative issues, with HIPAA …… The good stuff that HIPAA perhaps does, also blocks a lot of potential “HOPE” between those that are sick and those that have traveled that path in the past. I’ve met people …… all walks of life, all kinds of settings, in restaurants, malls, schools, churches and social events that have or have had all kinds of illnesses, sicknesses, diseases. With HIPAA instilled in my mind I refuse to violate these people’s privacy …… the reality is, if person “A” that HAS disease “X”, and person “B”, that HAD disease “X” and is standing on the other side of the room they should be talking. Person “B” could offer person “A” all kinds of hope and encouragement, help answer their questions, help comfort them on their life’s journey.
But, alas ….. introducing them is not allowed.
Sad, very sad. But, understandable!
(There is one HIPAA “violation” I see that makes me laugh all the time. “For privacy, stay behind the line, or stay back 5 feet from the desk.” Only to have someone then scream your complete name out, in a room full of people, when calling you. LOL)