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YOU HAVE NO POWER HERE! BEGONE, BEFORE SOMEBODY DROPS A HOUSE ON YOU TOO!

By: Randy S. Gerber, Esq., Founder of Pacient.care

Monday’s Consumer Tip talked about how valuable and important our medical records are and how they can be used for good or bad.  On the good side, our health information can be used to improve the quality of care we receive, can prevent duplicate tests, can decrease our time in the hospital and can improve our overall health experience.  On the bad side, if in the wrong hands our health information can lead to embarrassment, financial problems, credit problems and medical problems, to name a few. If you missed Monday’s article feel free to click here.

“Nobody Gets In to See the Wizard, Not Nobody, Not No How!”. I get this question all the time and it’s worth repeating at the outset.  Your medical records are your medical records. And with a few exceptions (such as one doctor talking to another about your treatment, or your hospital talking to the insurance company about getting paid) nobody, not nobody gets to the see your records.  Not no how. Unless, you consent.

“Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain”.  So, if someone suggests that you not pay attention to that piece of paper that has the words consent or authorization on it, stop what you are doing and make sure you understand what you are signing.  I would assume you are being asked to do something that you don’t have to do. My message here is not that consents are a bad thing but you should be aware of what you consenting to.  

Now, back to the bad guys.  Have you received a letter about the stolen or lost medical records?  If a doctor, hospital, insurance company or any other person or business covered by HIPAA (the privacy law) allows your private health information to be seen by someone without your consent (this is known as a breach incident), they are required to send you a letter within 60 days of the date the breach occurred. 

About This Letter. . . Don’t toss it in the garbage. This letter is important.  It will tell you what happened, the type of information that was stolen or released, the steps you should take to solve the problem, what the company is doing about solving the problem and perhaps most importantly, the name of a contact person who you can talk to about the incident.

Other Things to Consider:

  • If the letter offers to pay for credit monitoring, there is a good chance that some of your financial information or social security information was stolen.  Take advantage of the free services that are being offered.
  • Keep an eye on your medical bills, in particular your EOB’s for services that you may not have received.
  • Contact financial institutions about the stolen information.
  • Consider changing your passwords.

As the Wizard said, “Don’t be a victim of disorganized thinking.”  Read that notice of breach letter. Use the contact information and ask questions.  When all is said and done you want to be able to say to the thief who ruined your day:  “You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you too!

Thanks for reading.  Randy. rgerber@pacient.care.

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