Thursday, April 2, 2009

HIPAA Regulations

April 2nd, 2009Lewiston Morning TribuneC/O: Letter to the EditorP.O. Box 957Lewiston, ID 83501Re: HIPAA RegulationsTo whom it may concern: Just recently someone visited the Doctors office and received a packet disclosing important information regarding their play in who has access to their medical records. The packet states that, “A policy was made regarding personal health disclosure (policies pg. 1). What exactly does that mean? Regarding to the Notice of Privacy and Practices it states, “Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) medical centers must take steps to protect the privacy of your “protected health information” (PHI)” (policies pg 1). With medical facilities informing their patient of the HIPAA regulations it is a very comforting procedure knowing that precautions are being taken to ensure less chances of identity theft and the release of personal health information. When a patient goes into a medical facility at the time of service they are given the HIPPA paperwork. This is where they have the opportunity to write who they want to have access to their medical records and who they would like contacted in case of an emergency. Medical facilities must obtain written authorization for the release of medical records in certain situations (policies pg. 2). The Notice of Privacy states that you have the right to request restrictions (tell us how much information can be given to someone involved in your care), ask that we communicate with you by another means (ask to be reached at a different address for certain reasons, will need to be done in writing), request a copy of you PHI, ask us to amend PHI, seek an accounting of certain disclosures (list of the times information has been disclosed) and request a copy of this notice (policies pg. 4). However, most patients do not realize that they may change who has access to their medical records at any time. The Notice of Privacy Practices states that medical facilities do not need patient authorization when it comes to professionals involved in your health care also, towards those who you may be transferred to regarding care for that specific matter. This policy states that payments towards you health coverage does not need authorization for insurance companies. When the medical facility is required by law they may information workers’ compensation laws included. When a situation of abuse or neglect occurs government entities are authorized to receive reports. Oversight agencies are those who perform investigations, audits, and inspections licensures may have access to those if circumstances arise. The policy states that legal proceedings may have access in response to an order, a subpoena, discovery request, or unlawful process. The law enforcement officials have limited circumstances to when a disclosure may be released, such as, to identify or locate a suspect, witness, or missing person. The policy states that military activity and national security may be authorized regarding federal officials for national security and intelligence, also being able to do their job at protecting somebody. The policy also states that public health and safety may be authorized to have access to medical records to take the following precautions: track prescription drugs, medical devices, control diseases, injury etc (policies pg. 2 entire paragraph). Due to the federal law here in Idaho at the age of fourteen the patient has the right to state who has access to their medical records. Having experienced certain situations in the medical field it has been displayed that parents do not agree with this new regulation. When the occasion arises when the teen needs to fill out a new HIPAA the parent becomes very distressed, especially, at the fact that they are the ones who have to pay the bill but aren’t allowed to know anything that happens in the back office unless the patient states otherwise. However, most of the teens are relieved to know that they have the option to keep certain things to themselves. With the way that society has changed over the years it is probably a relief to know that they can come into a medical facility and not have to fear their parents finding out what may be in their medical records. I am a strong believer of the HIPAA. It is very comforting to know that I am able to State, who has access to my medical records and personal information. However, I do understand the parents’ feelings in regards to their teens being able to decide who can and can’t have access to their medical records at the age of fourteen. I myself would want to know if something was wrong with my daughter if I have to pay the bill. There must be a reason that she doesn’t want me to know, does she know she did something wrong, is she ashamed or scared? I don’t know but, if that teen does need help, I feel that they’ll open up and come ask for help. Most situations in the medical facility are confidential; however, situations may arise where that confidentially may be broken. Things are kept to a minimal in medical facilities in regards to how much needs and can be given.

Works Cited
Notice of Privacy Practices and Practice Policies. Valley Medical Center: Lewiston, ID,
Effective April 14th, 2003.

THe Danger of Weather

The Danger of Weather
As Mistie stepped out of the warm heated house at six in the morning she was greeted with the
bitter cold air. She looked around and saw no change in the weather. The weather was the same
as it was the previous day. The tress were covered with an old layer of snow from the previous storm that
had rolled in. The snow glistened like crystals as the light from the front porch hit them. The house was
enclosed with a small mist overlooking the small creek a couple miles down the mountainside. Looking
down the mountainside there was nothing but a straight drop off the side of the cliff. As Mistie continued
to leave for school she put one foot in front of the other and realized that she was walking on nothing but
a thick sheet of ice. Not only was there a sheet of ice on the stairs which lead to the driveway,
but the roads had suddenly become dangerous.
Not realizing what the road conditions were she hopped into her car and started heading
down the mountain. The sky was clear as shadows from the stars glistened into the moving car. Mistie
continued down the mountain where an opening appeared from the clutter of evergreen trees it was a
beautiful site to see but, Mistie was concentrating on the turn that was about to come. About a quarter of
the way down the mountain Mistie was proud thinking she had tackled the most dangerous turn on the
mountainside. Little did she know that her luck was about to change. The car hit the part of the mountain
where it started to lose speed, so she pressed on the gas to accelerate. Once the car picked up speed it hit a
small turn, a second later the car started to swerve.
She slammed on the brakes and lost complete control of the car. The car was picking up speed as
it was swerving from left to right on inside. On the right side of the car there was a twenty foot
drop with a clump of trees lining the side of the road with a small brem that stood half a foot tall. The car
continued to swerve as it hit the next curve. The car was now on the left side of the road. There was
nothing but a straight drop off the side of the road, about half a mile up the mountain. With fear running
through her body she started to shake as she gripped the steering wheel. Her eyes were wide open as they
started to fill with water. The only thing going through her mind was, “I hope I don’t go off the cliff.” She
started to scream “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO” as she hit the side of the road leading to the edge of the
mountain. Not knowing what to do, she thought; it’s over I’m going off the edge. She let go of the
steering wheel, as her eyes clamped shut with fear of what was going to happen next. The front tire hit a
piece of thick ice or even a rock which moved the tires pushing the car into a different direction away
from the cliff.
A second later her eyes opened and the only thing she saw was the car headed straight for the
mountainside. So many things were going through her head trying to scramble to find a solution as to
safely getting out of this situation. “What did my uncle say to do when you slide, what did he say!” she
exclaimed, as the car suddenly came to a complete stop. The two front wheels had hit the side of the berm
which stopped the car and swung the two back wheels around. She was now facing the other direction on
the road. With the adrenalin still running through her veins she sat there for a minute trying to grasp what
had just happed. Not knowing what to expect she got out of the car to see the damage done. To her
surprise there was no damage. She got back into the car hoping she was going to be able to get the car out
of the brem. To her surprise the car reversed. Mistie headed up the mountain to turn around.
As she headed back down the mountainside, she was able to see the markings on the road from
where the car had lost control. Tire marks leading from right to left to right to left hitting each curve just
barely from the roads edge. She noticed she had come only one inch from the edge of the mountainside
where she had let go of the steering wheel. With amazement and the feeling of relief Mistie suddenly
realized she was very lucky to be alive. She felt someone one was watching over her making sure she had
gotten down that mountain safely, yet to teach her a lesson about driving up in the mountains during the
winter time. From that point on when Mistie leaves the house she will not underestimate how dangerous
the roads may be. No matter what the weather conditions may be.