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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, May 20, 2005


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is the excuse for some of the lamest medical rules and procedures...

Yesterday, I had to pick up some test records at the clinic, to take for a doctor's review. Should be a simple task, yes? Simply walk in, maybe show some ID to prove I am in fact me, and whisk away with the requisite films and reports.

Not. Even. Close.

Oh, I called in advance to make arrangements, of course. In fact, I spent more than half an hour on the phone, being transferred to no less than eight different people, in and out of three different departments, before they were able to be clear on exactly where I needed to go, and what I needed to do when I got there.

Turns out I needed to make two stops. First at the Disclosure Desk (no, I am not making this up) to pick up the reports; then back to the x-ray department, to get the actual films.

Okay, I can do that. All I asked was that they be ready for me to pick up. "No problem," I was assured.

On the way to the clinic yesterday , I called again-- to let them know I was on my way, so that they'd be ready. "It will only take a few minutes," the clerk told me.


I got to the Disclosure Desk, and was handed this form to fill out. A whole page full of empty blanks. Name, address, phone, social security number, type of report requested, date of service... I don't remember what all they needed to know. Criminy, maybe even height, weight and and bra size, for all I know. It went on forever. I didn't argue, I was in a hurry. I just filled in the blanks.

I finally handed it back to the clerk, who checked it carefully to make sure it was alll filled in (wouldn't want to miss anything!), scrutinized my driver's license, and printed out the reports. All right; one down.

Then I went back to the x-ray department. Where I was handed another form to fill out.

The Exact Same Form.

Absolutely identical, every silly question and empty blank to be filled in, exactly the same way. Noooo, it was not sufficient to make a copy of the other form; each needed to be originally hand-scribbled and signed (records for HIPAA compliance, you know).

Then, I waited for twenty three minutes (yes, I counted) while the films I needed were retrieved from the records department and copied. Because the clinic rules state the clerks won't budge out of their little padded chairs until the requester is present and the form is completed (maintaining HIPAA privacy, you know).

Then why didn't you tell me that on the #$%^ phone, you HIPAA crazed, overzealous bureaucrat!!

I loathe HIPAA.


Blogger niebuhrian said...

I feel your pain. As one who works in the mental health field, the HIPAA regs. are a pain in the ass to deal with. Half the time I can't even figure out what I am supposed to say or not. Our center even has a HIPAA officer (or poobah as we are prone to calling him) that hands down judgments from on high. Sorry your experience was so difficult...

grace and peace

May 20, 2005 9:34 PM  

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