Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HIPAA Critical, Part II

Does anyone have the number for the idiot or idiots over at HIPAA that I can send my gas receipt to? I just had to drive across town to Son Number One’s pediatrician for a special office visit so that he could get his own health care web access all set up... you know, because he’s twelve now.

When you turn twelve these days, at least in California, you’re medically independent. For everything except the bill, that is. The bill they still send to me, even though I’m not allowed access to his medical records anymore. Funny how those HIPAA folks made a nice loophole for actually collecting the money and all.

Why did I have to drive all the way across town? Well, they want to make it so the twelve-year-old has their own personal user name and password-protected access to your health care plan’s website, but ironically, you can’t set that up on the website. You have to physically go to the doctor’s office and bring the actual twelve-year-old with you, so they can repeatedly ask why they had to come if they’re not having an appointment. Do you know why you, as the parent, have to go, too? Because twelve-year-olds CAN’T DRIVE, that’s why!

As if this galactically stupid monumental waste of our time is not asinine enough, the poor doctor’s assistant, who has approximately two bazillion better things to be doing, has to go through the ridiculous process of showing the twelve-year-old all the fun features of the new website he now has access to. The guy actually tried to show my son how to set up an appointment. My son and I looked at the guy with the exact same blank stare.

My stare meant, “Are you being $#&%’ing serious right now?”

My son’s stare probably meant, “Can I change the background image to a dragon?”

Prior to that, the guy had actually asked my twelve-year-old what he wanted his user name and password to be. Here’s how that would have gone if I hadn’t been in the room:

“What would you like your user name and password to be?”
“Your user name. Right here. What do you want it to say?”
“I get to choose??”
“Cool! Make it FlamingNinjaDeathRay.”
“All right. How about a password?”
“I dunno.”
“It has to have at least one number or character.”
“OK. Make it FlamingNinjaDeathRay2000##**##.”
“All right. You’re all set.”

Thirty seconds later

Me – “What happened in there?”
Son – “I got a website.”
“Yeah, I have a user name and password.”
“OK. What are they?”
“SamuraiDeathFlame, or something.”
“Is that the user name or the password?”
“I dunno. I’m hungry.”

Since I was in the room, we now have a user name and password that one of us will remember. Now my big grown-up twelve-year-old can finally take charge of his health care, as it was always meant to be. I logged on for him when we got home. (Don’t tell HIPAA.)

While I was on his amazing new health care web access portal – which looks exactly like the one I have, just conspicuously without the ‘Bill Pay’ option – I noticed that the doctor’s office had two online forms that they wanted my medically-independent son to fill out, since they sent them to his new account that I’m not allowed to have access to.

The first questionnaire started like this:

Please answer the following questions. It will help your clinicians spend more time discussing those specific issues that concern you.

Please list all medications, vitamins, inhalers or supplements your child is currently taking:
Actual answer – None
What his answer would have been – I don’t understand any of those words.

Please list your child's medication or food allergies, if any:
Actual answer – None
What his answer would have been – Cough syrup, peanuts, cauliflower, mayonnaise, carrots, and celery.

Has your child had any major medical problems since his or her last check up?
Actual answer – No
What his answer would have been – I have a wart on my toe and my dad is freezing it off and it hurts like crazy when he puts the cold thing on it, but I don’t know when my last checkup was and I don’t know when I got the wart and I also skinned my knee really bad playing kickball.

At that point I stopped reading the questionnaire, deleted it, and went ahead and changed his password without telling him.

I’ll bet you folks at HIPAA never saw that one coming. I’ll send you the gas receipt. And just so we’re clear, you can reimburse me, not my son.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen

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  1. Like how the questions are worded to the parents. If they did this process in oregon, would never have even gotten in the car. Suck it hippaa

    1. At least the doctors are still realistic about who's making the decisions, even if the bureaucrats have their heads up their HIPAAs. Just wait a little while. Oregon will follow California's crazy train soon enough.

  2. Like how the questions are worded to the parents. If they did this process in oregon, would never have even gotten in the car. Suck it hippaa