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June 14, 2011

BehindTheMedspeak: Medical "Wall of Shame"


The opening paragraph of Milt Freudenheim's May 31, 2011 Business section front page story in the New York Times: "Federal health officials call it the Wall of Shame. It's a government web page that lists nearly 300 hospitals, doctors and insurance companies that have reported significant breaches of medical privacy in the last couple of years."

What's "significant?"

How about the records of at least 500 people: is that significant enough for you?

"As required by section 13402(e)(4) of the HITECH Act, the Secretary [of Health & Human Services] must post a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals.  These breaches are now posted in a new, more accessible format that allows users to search and sort the posted breaches.  Additionally, this new format includes brief summaries of the breach cases that OCR has investigated and closed, as well as the names of private practice providers who have reported breaches of unsecured protected health information to the Secretary."

June 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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You need not tell an employer, or potential employer, of your medical condition(s) unless they effect your ability to perform the essential job functions. That's US federal law - state laws may have even stronger protections. The STD test case predates the passage of the ADA.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 14, 2011 4:19:04 PM

Dang it Matt! I was posting the same thing...start my post...walk across campus...come back and hit SEND and someone else says the same thing! But much less snarky! Ok...a little snarky! You'll do better next time!

Posted by: clifyt | Jun 14, 2011 1:36:15 PM

Maybe one of these days people will stop being freaked out about their medical conditions...

I know in my chosen field, people get bent out of shape when they look at my charts and I write "Ef'n Nutso" in the side...I mean, they are crazy, so why not say so.

I mean hell, I'm nutso...and I don't care who knows. I've also been listed as having unusually large...ummm...feet...if that gets out, I'm not going to be too upset either. Even though it sometimes causes me or others problems.

People are too idiotic about their privacy in this regard. Health records should all be public documents and we need to get over ourselves and stop trying to hide things. Even my personal life, I'm not going to get upset if someone were to post photos of me out with eligible 22 year old co-eds. Or that I have given or have been given various twitpics in congressional disposition. I could be ashamed, but thats just who I am...

Privacy needs to go away...my rentboy disagrees because he likes to blackmail others, but if it were a thing of the past, he'd find other ways to make money. I mean, he can vacuum my drapes and pick up my dry cleaning if he really needs the cash.

I don't know...I just think this line of thinking is for dinosaurs that are way past their prime.

Posted by: clifyt | Jun 14, 2011 1:34:54 PM

I guess I do not understand the issue. Should I care if soomeone knows my health issues? Because if I have Schistosomiasis I do not care if everyone in the world hears it. I am not big on the privacy thing. Maybe it is possible I would be denied a job if my health is bad (mental or otherwise) but won't I have to tell them eventually anyway. I feel ignorant of the issues.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 14, 2011 12:44:04 PM

(1) First, we kill all of the hospital administrators.
(2) We eliminate 100% of the for-profit hospitals.
(3) We liquidate all health care insurance companies that issue stock.
(4) We mandate mutual insurance companies as the sole health insurance providers.
(5) See #1 and include all for-profit insurance executives.

How does this solve the problem? No incentive would remain to obtain private medical records. Limit disclosure to physicians and support staff. Period.

There is profit in these illegal disclosures. That's the missing part of this story. This is a sin of commission - not omission.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 14, 2011 10:51:47 AM

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