Sunday, February 16, 2014

Every Man and His Dog

I took my wife to the doctor recently. He's a distant cousin and we've been using him as our family doctor for decades. A couple of years ago his practice was bought by one of the local hospital systems. I realize all the reasons that that is happening but it has clearly had a negative impact on the service.

When we checked in they gave her a clipboard with several sheets to fill out and sign. They had to have had all the information for years beforehand.

But this time there was a place to sign that you had been given a copy, read and agreed with their Privacy Policy. In the stack of documents was a 15 page "JOINT NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES."

Now they've pretty well got you in a corner. You came to them because you're sick and they won't treat you until/unless you sign. It's not likely that you're going to read those 15 pages carefully as you sit there sick. And even if you do and don't like something, you'll probably just go along to see the doctor.

Here's the first page.

Not too bad you say?

In bold, underlined and all caps it says: PERSONS/ENTITIES COVERED BY THIS NOTICE

There there are 2 bullet items.
  • All employees, staff, and other Health System personnel;
  • The following entities, sites and locations:

Followed by the name and location of the clinic.

Not too bad. Those are the people you are about to see anyway. And notice that the first line ends with a semicolon and the second line ends with a colon. There's no suggestion that there's more to that list.

But wait, there's more.

Here's the second page.

As the Brits would say that includes "Every man and his dog."

But none of this really matters. On page 15 it says "We reserve the right to change the Notice" without notice to you by posting it in their facilities and on their website.

Thank you, she's doing much better now.

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