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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Knowing Who to Talk to is Half the Battle

Have you ever been in a situation where someone asks you to follow a procedure that you know doesn't make sense?  And complaining about it does you no good because the person making you follow it isn't in a position to change the procedure, they are simply doing what they are told.

When someone tells you that it has to be done this way because of "HIPAA", the solution is to talk to the right person.  However, who would that be?  Fortunately, HIPAA helps you out here, because a health system has to have a named "Privacy Officer".  So the person to ask for, and who might be able to resolve the issue, or at least do something productive with your complaint is the "Privacy Officer".  So, while I cannot tell you the name, I can tell you the job title.  And if the organization is paranoid about HIPAA, anyone you talk to will know how to find out who the privacy officer is.

I'm taking my own advice with this, and complaining to my physician office's privacy officer, because while the organization will FAX records to another healthcare provider (whom I identify over the phone), they will not FAX them to my FAX machine AT MY home phone number (which is included in the record) at my request.

So, I get to do a little 'splaining of HIPAA to my HCP, and I'll be using OCR's memo if I need it.


P.S.  I just spoke with the person with that title, I can tell you it isn't going so well thus far, but she is referring me to her manager.  They really aren't set up to deal with patient feedback, are they...

P.P.S. And later, after speaking to her manager, I'm more mollified.  I understand their process, and what they have to go through to change it, and offered to help them out when they were ready.  The manager was quite happy to hear from me.  We'll see where things go from here.  I have some hope, but I also know it will take time.  It will be time well spent for my family and the other patients in this practice.


  1. THANK YOU. This is a nugget of the most useful kind. We should all ping the Privacy Officer at each of the providers we deal with, if only to let them know patients care about their own access to their own data ...

    1. Once you get to that person, you might (as I had to), mover further up the chain, but at least you'll be yanking on the right chain.

  2. Privacy Officer? I still get asked what is HIM..

  3. Thanks for provideing the OCR's memo. Real good input!