Saturday, February 7, 2009

Obamas economic stimulus plan for lawyers

I guess the possible hard times for attorneys in the present economic climate must have sent shock-waves through the numerous attorneys that comprise our government and they felt obliged to support their collegues in the Stimulus Bill. Hidden deep inside of it, they managed to expand the already messed up HIPPA laws by allowing expansion of the ability to sue for "possible violations" and to be sure that trial-lawyers could even go after "big buck third parties". They also made sure that the door is open for every state attorney general to hire private firms for this. OR better yet, let private firms just bring in the cases to them. Up til now there have not been a lot of HIPPA based suits, I can only imagine that this will now be one of the newest growth areas for trial attorneys. I guess Obama and the trail attorney congress feel that the way to stimulate the economy is to expand the ability to sue over a poorly conceived and understood law and crush what ever business they can.


SeaSpray said...

Too bad there aren't more doctors working in the senate and elsewhere in government.

Then maybe... there would be more checks and balances with this stuff.

SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...

Throckmorton..I think of you as the *legal* doctor because you are so interested in law and discuss it so much.

So.. another short vent.

I am LIVID all over again!

Ha! I wrote another long comment (twice) then decided I will just post it in my blog later.


SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...
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SeaSpray said...

Throckmorton -Okay..I may have Twitter remorse in the morning and delete... but 32 Twitters and 1 hour later..I VENTED about med recs and being treated poorly.

And I will post on it as the saga continues.

I'll tell you though..with everyday that passes...I am getting madder than a hornet being slapped around!

I DID NOT appreciate her telling me "I really think you are making too much of this" yesterday. My ss# and all identifying info in that chart, my VERY *personal* med info, conversations,tests,dr's notes, etc. are *possibly* in a compromising location...and I am "making too much of this"?

And dr was an excellent diagnostician...I would like to have been able to pass his notes on to the next doc because he would've laid a good foundation these past 4 1/2 years. He diagnosed some things other docs missed.

I am an optimist becoming jaded and feeling like I am being screwed over. :(

And I know it was a mistake.... and EGREGIOUS one... but a mistake.

I am ANGRY at how I am being treated and discounted, etc. That is adding insult to injury.

I appreciate what DR Rob from "Musings of a Distractible Mind" said,"What if the wrong people get access to the information? What if identity theft happens at the medical record level? Medical information is as personal as anything, so a breach in confidentiality in this area is very egregious."

Dr Rob was talking about EMRs but med recs are med recs regardless of in what form. It is beyond me how a med professional could not appreciate that my records are legal documents, containing the most personal of information (we tell our docs things we don't tell friends and family!)and think I am "making too much of it."

As annoying as it is, we have HIPAA for a reason and she SHOULD know that and appreciate my concern, maybe demonstrate just a tad of empathy vs insensitive and rude.

I meant to say in previous comment that professionals in all fields that have the potential for being sued...would do well to find a way to validate a person's feelings, work with them on an issue where the can...and NEVER blow them off.

I am angrier because of how she has avoided questions, lied..or tried to..perhaps denied is better word, discounted my feelings and snapped at me...when I am the one who has been hurt and have a right to be concerned. It is way better to speak with someone in a way that diffuses a situation..even if you don't agree, thus preventing things getting out of hand.

I would not be feeling this bad if I had the sense they were really trying and been treated more respectfully. I reached out in compassion, appreciation for how nice they had been over the years and even apologized for bothering them with this... even though I am worried about my personal info. I had to be assertive let them know, I KNOW the egregiousness of this and I did that because I wasn't sure if they were still really trying to find my records.

SeaSpray said...

I just want to add, that in our 1st conversation on 2/2, when I called to have them send my other doc my labs... after she told me they didn't have my medical records, except for a few notes from Dec and (I thought she said fall 07, but now denies that)looked everywhere... she then said well you weren't here that much, so there wasn't much in the folder.

While I did ask some questions..I really was processing and it wasn't until later that it all hit me. And she did not want to answer the couple of questions I had. She did say to call in a couple of weeks.

But (I know my feelings are subjective)as I reflected back on our conversation and the tone in her voice...almost like ..oh well we'll do are best... but it didn't convey the urgency I was actually feeling that time *could* be of the essence because she also stated the office would be closed within the month, I began to think because I was so nice about it...that they might think it wasn't a big deal to me.

And I am not familiar with policies and procedures for closing a medical practice and I became concerned about my med recs...if they ARE still there..or if they are not. Who do I go to for follow up?

These are not unreasonable concerns.

They didn't answer the phone Friday... nor on Monday. But on Monday there was a message stating that they were no longer taking calls and so left instruction for emergencies, etc. and to leave a message.

And so I did. I was polite, still empathetic for what they are going through and appreciative. But I did mention "it was an EGREGIOUS mistake...I know we all make mistakes and I could have done it too... but that those records HAD to be found." And I said more and I was assertive.

The tone/content of the next day's conversation on her end was not good. She stated that we got your labs from Labcorp and we made copies of what we had! She said it like I should be happy with that.

I did thank them in the message for sending what they could to my other doc. Of course I appreciated that.

What astounds that 1st she tried to say that because I wasn't there that much.. I didn't have much in my chart. I saw that chart in his arms, on Dec 23 (I was one of his last patients)held close to his chest when he walked in,as he leafed through it after he put it on the table and when he brought it to the front desk. It wasn't huge... but it WAS full! There were important things in there. Any medical people coming through here know all the things that are in there better than I do.

So she was wrong about that.

2ndly and most me for as much as I regret MOST of HIS evaluations/notes not being available to pass on and perhaps facilitate treatment in the best direction possible in the future... it is not the end of the world... people do start over with doctors. It is a shame though that I will lose his input. I am a good historian though and I will type out chronologically what I do know from my perspective... but certainly is not the wealth of info he would provide.

He was different from any other doctor I have had in that he wanted every little bit of minutia, because to quote the secretary "he was like a detective..piecing everything together, so that if something did go wrong..he could say oh..this is happening because of that." He was thorough.

What is even *more important* to me then all of the that they seemed to have LOST my *personal* information and no matter what she states about it not leaving the office... that without the original hard copies... she can no more prove that then she can prove or disprove the existence of God. The fact that I don't have copies of everything dating back to 10/04 speaks volumes.

I have ALWAYS diligently been protective of patient information..even before HIPAA because I knew how particular I was about my own privacy.

(When I was a newbie,I did blurt out once into a packed waiting area for a man to bring his 24 hour urine up. He was so embarrassed and in a hushed embarrassed tone with locked eye contact whispered that he hoped that wouldn't happen, he wanted to be discreet about it." I felt bad and immediately apologized and never made the mistake again.)

Also, on that note... I know firsthand from working so long with the emergency staff... that we do get busy, we see so much of the same things, we can and do get desensitized to the patient's feelings and concerns. It is not intentional, but we forget what is not a big deal to us because it is part of our jobs... it can be a huge deal to patients..even if they don't verbalize it.

And often times doctors and other medical staff go outside their health system for care because they do not want their confidentiality compromised in any way. I have done the same.

It is difficult enough to muster up the courage to seek medical attention for personal and/or frightening things AND to open up with this personal info.. that you at least expect staff will understand that and respond accordingly.

So..I really am astounded that SHE thinks that because there may not have been much in there anyway, or because they got "some copies" to send out... That I would not be concerned about the *possible* breach in my confidentiality *if* my info were to get into the wrong hands.

If indeed it were packed away..mixed up in another patient's chart(s)and the only person seeing it would be the new doctor...I would NOT be this upset. If I had assurance that only doctors would see it.. I would regret that I still didn't have my info to pass on... but I would so very much RELAX about identity theft...or being embarrassed about what a patient ...maybe even someone I know could read about me.

She can not give me that assurance and frankly...doesn't *seem* to care.

I know I have written a lot your comments, but maybe it would be good for any medical people passing through to read about the personal anguish this debacle has caused me. I know we all do our best to see that these things don't happen... but it never hurts to have a review/reminder because we all get so busy.

And because you write about lawsuits in the med profession...I want to reiterate that regardless of the problem... and saying the "I'm sorry" quagmire of potential lawsuits if acknowledging any culpability it would behoove medical professionals... to diffuse any needless or additional anger by simply... considering the patient's feelings and concerns and helping them to feel heard. (I am talking about the decent people not the leeches that would prey upon you for easy money regardless of what it did to your finances or reputation)

After this experience...feeling like the discounted, bothersome patient when I have legitimate concerns... I can truly appreciate why some patients might initiate lawsuits.

I have told you about my friend who had an open and shut case for a lawsuit because the nurse in her doctor's office almost killed her with 10 x the dose she was supposed to receive, 3 days in ICU and Dr told husband he better get the family together. She did NOT sue and requested that he NOT fire the nurse because she knew it was an accident and anyone can make mistakes. I have so much respect for her for that and I am the same way.

But certainly, not everyone is and so positive communication is so important.

Throckmorton...this is long and I thought you and your readers may be interested in an angry patient's perspective, but certainly understand if you delete this.

Also... we never know how one person's experience, or even a statement... may influence another for the better in the future.