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Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:13 pm
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Default Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

I am presuming they are?

The reason I ask is that our doctors receptionist discussed with a family friend details from our files.

I have tried to do an internet search but come up with lawyers all the time!
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:22 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by loopylorns View Post
I am presuming they are?

The reason I ask is that our doctors receptionist discussed with a family friend details from our files.

I have tried to do an internet search but come up with lawyers all the time!
This is a huge violation of your privacy. I would be shocked! File a complaint.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by farmerwife View Post
This is a huge violation of your privacy. I would be shocked! File a complaint.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf
Thank you, thought I was right in thinking the same as in Uk.

Weve had a bit of a tiff with this surgery so she called our friends and asked them to talk to us and try to rectify on their side (bloomin cheek) whilst divulging private info at the same time.:curse:
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

I have had two "GP's" since living here and both have made comments to me about the previous patient...I couldn't believe it.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I have had two "GP's" since living here and both have made comments to me about the previous patient...I couldn't believe it.
Its disgusting, we went to dinner with these people and were shocked to hear that they had been called.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by loopylorns View Post
Its disgusting, we went to dinner with these people and were shocked to hear that they had been called.
Last time I went to see my doctor this was the story he told me and he thought it was hilarious.

His grandson has started imitating people with an Indian accent. He would phone his grandad...my doctor...and pretend he wanted medical assistance. Recently an Indian gentlemen phoned the doctor out of hours...our doctor is on call 24hr per day and will even do home visits. Anyway the guy started to explain to the doctor what was wrong and our doctor thought it was his grandson...told him to stop playing around etc and put the phone down. The guy collapsed and was taken to hospital...my doctor said he hadn't heard from the guy since. I've a feeling he will be hearing from the guy's lawyers.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Yes, that's probably a big no no. They can give your details out to other parties but in the case of a family friend they have to have an authorization form signed by you detailing what they can and can't release. I'm assuming that they have no such form so I would definitely file a complaint. You can also file a complaint if they send you something unrelated to your treatment. For instance when my wifes doctor used her patient database to send campaign materials to all her patients asking them to vote for her brother as a municipal court judge. I was pissed but did have to laugh at the irony that she was breaking a federal law trying to get her brother elected as a judge.

One of the 'best' stories I've ever heard, and one that was a huge part in forming the HIPAA laws, is the one where an employee of a billing company (I think billing) bought her 12 year old to work and sat her in front of a computer. The 12 year old then proceeded to access the patient database and called a whole bunch of people who had had blood tests and tell them they had HIV. Needless to say this didn't go down to well.

Last edited by Duncan Roberts; Mar 26th 2007 at 5:54 pm.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by loopylorns View Post
Its disgusting, we went to dinner with these people and were shocked to hear that they had been called.
I am sure you have a case. But also check the privacy guidelines which your insurance company will have had to give you by law.

Do you have legal assistance insurance? (We pay about $12 a month for this; never used it, but in such a litigious society I would not be comfortable to be without it...)
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
I am sure you have a case. But also check the privacy guidelines which your insurance company will have had to give you by law.

Do you have legal assistance insurance? (We pay about $12 a month for this; never used it, but in such a litigious society I would not be comfortable to be without it...)

Well Elvira this is the thing, very long story!

We arrived here on Oct 28th last year, knew we had medical insurance with healthnet from 1st oct.

Took our 4 kids to docs as needed injections before being allowed into school (grr) any way first thing I naturally did was ask Doctors if they were healthnet members-at this point had no med cards os SSN so even if we had our med card we couldnt use without SSN (our polocy rules).

We paid the bill cash $1500 and were told we would get it all back, kids went again had more injections by which time we had med cards and SSN so we just paid our $20 per person co pay.

Next thing I know is we are being billed by docs as they are not healthnet members (despite saying they were) and so due to miss information by receptionist we are $1500 down plus she wants another $750.

Now I have to add at this point to save confusion that if I use an healthnet member I do not have any deductables so hence why I am slightly miffed to say the least that I am already out of pocket plus owe additional monies.

I wanted to speak to the doctor regarding this and have asked on several occasions but apparently I cant! I really feel the receptionist has not disclosed her screw up to the doctor.

The receptionist still claims today that they are healthnet registered.

On friday of last week the receptionist called our friends, disclosed information on this matter, amount owed etc and asked him to talk to us to get us to pay, at this point she told him they only wanted the deductables!

Now as she keeps saying they are health net registered why would there be any? she does not seem to grasp this.

Why on earth would this woman think I would use a non member and pay $2000 deductables rather than use a member and pay non!!!!


grrr it is very frustrating but to say that I was mortified that she told our friends we owed them cash is putting it lightly.

Last edited by loopylorns; Mar 26th 2007 at 6:17 pm.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by farmerwife View Post
This is a huge violation of your privacy. I would be shocked! File a complaint.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf
Fantastic website, I have just spoken with them and both the discussing of our private affairs and the reasons leading to it can be complained about.

Many thanks xx
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by loopylorns View Post
Well Elvira this is the thing, very long story!

We arrived here on Oct 28th last year, knew we had medical insurance with healthnet from 1st oct.

Took our 4 kids to docs as needed injections before being allowed into school (grr) any way first thing I naturally did was ask Doctors if they were healthnet members-at this point had no med cards os SSN so even if we had our med card we couldnt use without SSN (our polocy rules).

We paid the bill cash $1500 and were told we would get it all back, kids went again had more injections by which time we had med cards and SSN so we just paid our $20 per person co pay.

Next thing I know is we are being billed by docs as they are not healthnet members (despite saying they were) and so due to miss information by receptionist we are $1500 down plus she wants another $750.

Now I have to add at this point to save confusion that if I use an healthnet member I do not have any deductables so hence why I am slightly miffed to say the least that I am already out of pocket plus owe additional monies.

I wanted to speak to the doctor regarding this and have asked on several occasions but apparently I cant! I really feel the receptionist has not disclosed her screw up to the doctor.

The receptionist still claims today that they are healthnet registered.

On friday of last week the receptionist called our friends, disclosed inforation on this matter, amount owed etc and asked him to talk to us to get us to pay, at this point she told him they only wanted the deductables!

Now as she keeps saying they are health net registered why would there be any? she does not seem to grasp this.

Why on earth would this woman think I would use a non member and pay $200 deductables rather than use a member and pay non!!!!


grrr it is very frustrating but to say that I was mortified that she told our friends we owed them cash is putting it lightly.
Have you actually discussed this with Healthnet? The thing is, you must insist on speaking to a supervisor as the bods who answer the phone no diddly-squatt. Once you have got through to a supervisor (you may have to be persistent - reserve a day when you are calm and have no other plans...) make sure you get both his/her name AND direct phone number.

We used to be with Healthnet, and having this information saved us no end of hassle...

OMG I could tell stories...
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by loopylorns View Post
Fantastic website, I have just spoken with them and both the discussing of our private affairs and the reasons leading to it can be complained about.

Many thanks xx
Good luck Loopylorns.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Last time I went to see my doctor this was the story he told me and he thought it was hilarious.

His grandson has started imitating people with an Indian accent. He would phone his grandad...my doctor...and pretend he wanted medical assistance. Recently an Indian gentlemen phoned the doctor out of hours...our doctor is on call 24hr per day and will even do home visits. Anyway the guy started to explain to the doctor what was wrong and our doctor thought it was his grandson...told him to stop playing around etc and put the phone down. The guy collapsed and was taken to hospital...my doctor said he hadn't heard from the guy since. I've a feeling he will be hearing from the guy's lawyers.

Bad bad bad!

I know there are people who talk about stuff in every job they should not but really you never know who is who.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Have you actually discussed this with Healthnet? The thing is, you must insist on speaking to a supervisor as the bods who answer the phone no diddly-squatt. Once you have got through to a supervisor (you may have to be persistent - reserve a day when you are calm and have no other plans...) make sure you get both his/her name AND direct phone number.

We used to be with Healthnet, and having this information saved us no end of hassle...

OMG I could tell stories...

Yes they say as the doctors not registered they cant help and advised I make a formal complaint at the department of health insurance but thanks to another poster I have a more direct route.

Also my hubby has spoken with the healthnet agent who sorts it out for the company but oh my! hes next to useless, the stories I could tell just to get the cards in the first place!

I miss the NHS, people knock it but its not complicated.
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Old Mar 26th 2007, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Are patient confidentiality rules the same in USA as in UK?

Elvira,
I edited my post after you read it, the deductables are $2000 not $200.

Still regardless of amount why on earth would any one choose to pay when they dont have to?

Dooh receptionist just dont get it!
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