Sunday, March 20, 2011
THE RIGHT TO KNOW
I was in my doctor's office and I refused to put my name on the list at the receptionist's desk because I don't believe other people have the RIGHT TO KNOW my business. I told the receptionist that it was a HIPAA violation as it was nobody's business that I was even at the doctor's office or about whether I had changed my insurance coverage or other information. I told her that I would be glad to come into her office and tell her the information privately. She said, "Well, that's the rules." I said, "Well, then MY RULE is that I need to see your boss." The Office Manager came out to the waiting room and actually asked, "Do YOU have a problem?" Immediately insulted, I answered, "No, YOU do but I'll be glad to discuss it privately." We went inside. I told her that I objected to:
1. Having my name on the list for everyone to see as other people had no business knowing my name;
2. The sheet requesting private information: whether I had changed insurance, address or phone number;
3. Being called to the receptionist's window to be asked other private information within the earshot of other patients.
She told me that she thought I was making a "mountain out of a molehill". I then handed her a sheet of paper where I had written down information about other patients which I had heard while sitting in the waiting room. I said, "I don't have the RIGHT TO KNOW these things!"
She went to the receptionist and told the receptionist that I didn't need to put my name on the list; the receptionist asked, "Then HOW am I supposed to know when to call her?"
I piped up and said, "You know, I bet if you put my chart up there with the others, you'll know when I'm next!" She wailed, "Well, how am I supposed to do it with others?" I said, "How about like the dry cleaners--give a number--call my number!"
Another time, I heard the receptionist call a woman to her desk and tell her there was a problem with her insurance. The woman sat down and called her insurance company on her cell phone. Everyone in the waiting room could hear her side of the conversation. It was obvious that she was being transferred from one section to another. After hearing her tell her name, birth date and social security number twice, the next time time she repeated the information, I jotted it down. When she finished talking, I went over to her and handed her the note and she asked, "What's that?" I told her that everybody in the waiting room could hear her giving out that private information and I told her that anybody there could probably empty out her bank account with that much information about her.
Instead of thanking me, she actually said that I should just mind my own business. I told her that she should have taken her business outside into the hallway instead of announcing it to all of us!