Background: I work for a pretty famous health insurance company (so no, I really don’t have a soul anymore). I work in the subrogation department, which recovers money for the health insurance if – say you get into a car accident and the hospital charges your health insurance instead of the car insurance like they’re supposed to. I talk to people all day about medical billing. Being in the US, I have to abide by the HIPAA laws, which are federal laws that prevent your health information from being shared with anyone who isn’t you. We try to call you first to confirm what happened because no one pays attention to their mail anymore. It’s an automated system the dials out and if you answer, the call gets directed to us.
Now I’ve set up the background, I get a call that our automated system sent out. It pops up with some basic info: the patient’s name, address, call back number, and what health insurance they have (private vs Medicaid/Medicare).
Me: Thank you for calling. My name is kim_ctv. Could I get your name please?
Caller: I’m redacted’s mom.
Me (thinking I’m speaking with the PT and not their mom): Hi redacted. Here at *goes into spiel that I go into about 70 times a day, if not more*. Can I have you please confirm your DOB and address for privacy purposes?
C: No, I’m their mom.
M: Oh, is redacted available to speak with?
C: They are a minor.
M: My system is showing that they are 24…
C: Well, they still live at home.
M: Ok, are they available to speak with?
C: You can speak with me, I’m their mom.
M: No, I can’t. The HIPAA laws are very specific. Redacted is an adult and I need their permission to speak with you.
C: But I’m their mom!!!
I’m sorry, I must’ve missed that clause in the HIPAA laws that repeating over and over that you are the parent of an adult makes it totally ok for me to disclose their personal health info. I sent the patient a letter so they can call back when they’re home.
BTW, folx, I have this argument at least once a day with people’s parents, usually a (probably overbearing or very nosey) mom. Don’t be like that.
submitted by /u/kim_ctv