Wednesday, September 26, 2018

HIPAA Critical, Part III

Son Number Two turned twelve a few months ago, and you know what that means – yes, that’s right, Medical Independence!

Yes sir, nothing points out the fact that the collective IQ of our governing officials is below room temperature better than HIPAA, which stands for Hypocritical Idiots Pounding Abundant Alcoholic Beverages and Possibly Smoking Crack While Passing Insane Health Insurance Bills They Will Never Be Affected By Because They Don’t Live Under The Same Rules As The Commoners. (They cut out some of the letters because the acronym was getting too cumbersome. By the way, “Cumbersome Acronym” is obviously the name of my next rock band.)

The fully-lobotomized bureaucrats who authored the HIPAA bill, presumable with Crayons and drool, included the fun new law that anyone who has reached the ripe old age of twelve should now be in complete control of their medical decisions.

This was not news to our family, since we’d been through this once already with Son Number One. (He’s now thirteen years old, so under the HIPAA regulations he now has his own apartment and a Volkswagen Jetta.)

One easy way to know if your child has HIPAA’d up at twelve, is that their name will disappear from your list of family members on your medical provider’s website. That’s because, due to their newfound medical independence, you no longer have access to their medical records, even though you will be their legal guardian until they are eighteen, or if you are the parent of a hipster, thirty-five.

Now, sure, my twelve-year-old is probably better prepared to make his own medical decisions than Deklan, the thirty-two-year-old bearded chai-sucking blogger living in his parent’s basement, but that’s not really saying much, is it? Son Number Two is still twelve, after all, so his idea of a good medical decision after, let’s say, experiencing a blow to the head, would be to see if he could eat a whole ten-pound bag of granulated sugar with a spoon.

Captain Independence had gone into the doctor for something right before his magic HIPAA birthday, and a few weeks later when I logged on to attempt to pay the bill for the office visit, he had disappeared.

Under the HIPAA regulations, the doctor’s office is prohibited by law to set up his personal medically-independent online account over the phone. It must be done in person with the medically-independent twelve-year-old. In the meantime, I couldn’t pay his bill online because it simply didn’t exist on the website.

I must be honest. I didn’t lose any sleep over that.

When it came time for his regular checkup a few days ago, we went through the ridiculous charade of having him set up his “own” online medical account with the help of the nurse.

Now, I don’t ever expect anything logical to come out of a bureaucrat’s mouth, and neither should you. These are people who have never held down any real job more complicated than running the sour cream gun at a Taco Bell. Their entire existence revolves around clinging to their government job like a rabid squirrel on a caramel popcorn ball, so none of their decisions make any outward logical sense.

I do, however, expect people with real jobs, such as, let’s say, doctors and nurses, to make logical and reasonable decisions, and say logical and reasonable things. I expect these folks to do so during standard, everyday situations, and also in the face of complete government absurdity.

That being said, there we were in the examination room, with the nurse walking Son Number Two through how to set up his username and password on the in-room computer. “Type your username in here,” she said.

I told him what it should be so I would remember it.

She glanced at me with what appeared to be frustration on her face. Then she turned back to him and said, “OK, now your password.”

Again, I told him what it should be.

As a parent of a twelve-year-old, you can imagine how taken aback I was when the nurse turned to me and actually uttered the words, with a sigh, “Just so you know, this is supposed to be his own private account.”

*sound of a small blood vessel exploding in my brain*

I was so shocked I simply couldn’t help myself. I responded, “Just so YOU know, that’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” (Which is a true statement, and keep in mind, I have a teenager who talks.)

She then began sputtering about regulations and how they technically have to follow them, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, but I cut her off.

“Never mind the fact that he is incapable of making good homework or personal hygiene decisions, let alone good medical decisions. Forget that part of this nonsense. Did you know that I can’t pay his bill without being able to access his ‘private account’? Do you have any idea what his username and password would be right now if I didn’t tell him what to write?”


“Me neither. And do you know who else wouldn’t know? Him, in about fifteen seconds from now. And even if he had ‘remembered’ that he made his password ‘thisPasswordissuperlitty2,’ he would have spelled ‘Password’ wrong in the middle, so it wouldn’t have mattered. So, if you really want it to be his ‘private account,’ I'm actually all for that. Keep sending him the bill, and we’ll keep not paying it, and then you can send his medically-independent ass to collections and see how much money a judge will let you try to squeeze out of a twelve-year-old.”

Thankfully, they were basically done and we were able to leave before any more blood vessels popped in my head. I didn’t want to have to be admitted for treatment of a HIPAA-induced stroke.

I know the nurse was just trying to do her job in the face of governmental idiocracy, and I appreciate that, but c’mon, people! No matter what they tell you to do next, let’s make sure that common sense doesn’t get too uncommon out there!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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  1. There is so much material here that I don’t know where to begin. It’s possibke that a small blood vessel popped in my head too.....

    1. You're in health care. Fix this HIPAA thing for us, will you?