Day 6: Even God Needs To Sign A HIPAA Form

DAY 6: Wishing for a better understanding of HIPAA

All my clients sign HIPAA (Authorization for Release of Information) forms at the onset.  It is supposed to be the key that unlocks the door to their medical information.  The road to obtaining the information is often blocked by barriers that make no sense and have no basis in the law.  I fear, even God, would have as much trouble navigating the inconsistent world of HIPAA as do the rest of us mere mortals.

I wish:

  • HIPAA really existed for the patient.
  • There was one form, not a myriad of individual institutional forms.
  • Insurance companies wouldn’t take three to five days to scan the form.
  • Nursing homes would stop saying they need to run it by their lawyers.
  • And finally, I wish hospitals would stop denying a patient’s family real time views of the medical record while in-patient.

The idea of HIPAA was a good one in its original conceptualization.  Its purpose was to protect patient’s health information and control which individuals view the record.  Now, it is often an impediment to communication and care.  I am always amazed that even when I have a signed HIPAA form, I have to ask to speak to a supervisor to get clearance.

My friend, who does hospital ministry, says it is very difficult now because even he needs a signed HIPAA form to speak with anyone.  No one is sacrosanct in the fearful and paranoid world of HIPAA.  I guess anyone could put on a clergy’s collar or pretend to be a minister.  Proves my point, that God would have to sign a HIPAA form.  I just hope St Peter doesn’t ask for one at Heaven’s Door before he can let me in!