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Posted: 9/7/2004 9:26:04 AM EDT
I have an unpublished number. When telemarketers call and ask for me by name, I ask them how they got my name and number. I got a call Monday from "Craftmatic" and, since they asked for me by name, I presumed that they were not using a sequential dialer and asked them how they got my name and number.

The woman told me that they get a lot of referals from Doctors offices. It so happens that I had just made an appointment for an annual physical last Friday. I suspect the Doctors office either gave or sold my name to this and possibly other companies.

Is it common practice for Doctors (or other professionals for that matter) to give out or sell patient / client information?

I am a little annoyed by this but, then again, as I get older I seemed to get annoyed more easily.

What do you think?
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:27:24 AM EDT
It's the American way.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:27:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:31:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Steve6:

The woman told me that they get a lot of referals from Doctors offices.

This would seem to be a violation of the HIPPA Act. I definitely would confront your doctor about this practice and ask him for his home phone number, so that you can call him at dinner time and annoy him

also check here: www.os.dhhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:32:13 AM EDT
Depends what they were marketing. If it was herpes meds, I'd definitely sue.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:32:34 AM EDT
Find a new doctor.

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:38:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2004 9:38:17 AM EDT by Torf]

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Find a new doctor. And obtain all personnel information about everyone working at the office and sign them up for as much junk mail, spam, telemarketers, vehicle giveaways as possible.


Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:39:58 AM EDT
That is a HIPPA Violation, Go speak to a lawyer. Thats exactly why the law was enacted. They should have had you sign a privacy agreement when you went in if its the first time since this winter when it went into effect. If not they are already in violation of The HIPPA standards.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:44:41 AM EDT
+1 on the HIPPA violation.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:53:03 AM EDT
the information form that you fill out at the doctor's office is supposed to be private, they shouldnt give it out to tele-marketers, the dental office form says they can only give out info for identification to LE or in case of accidents, etc.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:55:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2004 9:57:35 AM EDT by Sierra_Hombre]
could be a HIPAA violation. if the doctor is a friend you might want to discuss it with him first because the board will bust his ass hard.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:56:26 AM EDT
it's actually HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and it's your PHI that is protected, IIRC. PHI is used variously in articles to describe "private health information" or "personal health information." While I don't know enough to do the analysis, if I were that doctor, I would be very careful about disclosing anything that could be deemed PHI, particularly anything that identifies who you are personally. HIPAA initially caused so much fear of suit that hospitals were refusing to disclose to family members (unecessarily) whether their loved ones were even located at a facility.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:57:00 AM EDT
I work as an IT guy at a hospital. Patient information, especially name and phone numbers, and addresses is a blatant violation of HIPPA. Any kind of patient information given to somebody without the express written approval of said patient is a violation.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 9:57:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2004 10:05:24 AM EDT by Steve6]
The last time I visited the Doctors office was last September (my initial visit). The Doctor gave me a physical and accepted me as a new patient into his practice. I don't have any heath issues but I wanted a physician so I wouldn't have to go to a Doc-in-the-box or ER if / when I get sick or injured.

I recall completing several forms dealing with privacy and specific situations in which medical information would be shared (for example, for referals to other health care providers). I'm not sure that my name and phone number are protected under the privacy act. edit - (apparently they are)

I wouldn't sue over something like this as some of you have (jokingly?) suggested but it will be helpful to know where I stand when I bring this to his attention. It may be that the Doctor is not aware that this is going on (as someone already suggested).

I really don't want to have to find a new Doctor if I don't have to.

Thanks for the feedback.

Edited to add that I had no idea of the ramifications / seriousness of the situation.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:01:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2004 10:04:09 AM EDT by Dog1]
Let me tell you a story-

2 years ago this fall I had surgery on my foot. The doctor I went to is the brother of a person I went to high school with. She works at his office. I too have a unlisted number.

This year was our 20th high school reunion. I hated everything about high school. I went to a school that was filled with asshats that thought they were better than everyone else. I was one of the "have nots'

I swore that I would never go to a reunion.

Well last April I get a phone call...from the reunion committe. I asked the broad calling how they got my number...

She blurts out without thinking..."Remember so and so...she said that you went there for a foot problem and she gave us your....." She stopped..I said that was all I needed to know...

My wife is an Attorney, she fired off a letter to the Indiana Medical Bar Association and to the doctor.

He got fined big time and she resigned from his office...

In short-HAMMER THEM!!

Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:03:52 AM EDT
It seems quite a jump from "The woman told me that they get a lot of referals from Doctors offices" to a HIPPA violation. Did she actually say that they got your phone number from your doctor? I'd ask him about it first (and mention the possible HIPPA violation) before going any further. He may not be aware that someone is giving away patient information, or it may all be a coincidence and they got your number from someone else.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:06:37 AM EDT
I have never heard of such a thing. Don't mean it doesn't happen, but I sure haven't heard of it before. Maybe the telemarketer is handing you a line of shit.

Call your doc and ask him. Seriously. If it's true and he doesn't know about it, he will sure as hell want to.

If it were me I'd be really pissed off. As a patient or a doc.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:08:31 AM EDT
Man, my doctor would need a doctor if he did some shit like that to me!!

Best telemarketer buster I ever bought wasa cell phone. Hell, its all I have anymore. And in the 3 years I've had one, never had 1 telemarketer call.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:09:32 AM EDT
Not to worry, I have no intention of flying off the handle or jumping to conclusions. It may be a coincidence (although I don't think so).

I do plan to ask my Doctor about it when I go for my annual physical.

I'm going to wait til after the finger wave though, just in case.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:10:27 AM EDT
I dont think the HIPPA law was broken in this case, If you read the form you signed it clearly states that information can be released to people who have the need to know, like other Doctors, or whom the Doctor/Clinic has a busniess relationship with. While the law prevents me, and anyone else you have not listed from getting any of your health information, it does not prevent the release to others I'm sure you would not want it released to.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:16:16 AM EDT
It is a HIPAA violation. Didn't you all take classes on that? I work in the health care industry. Our HIPAA orientation was 3 days long.

Unless you signed something specifically allowing them to do that - they are in the wrong. The ambiguity of the law allows the petitioner a broad stroke of the brush.

And of course, I'm not an expert - this is my recollection from my orientation.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:29:47 AM EDT
I would ask the Doc.

I havent spoken with anyone at the house on the phone that I didnt WANT to speak with in years.
I have an answering machine that allows me to screen my calls. I screen all calls.
Just cause it rings doesnt mean I will answer. People that know me say " John pick the phone up" if I dont hear that I just let the machine get it.
One of the best $35.00 I have ever spent.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:43:06 AM EDT

I'd find another doctor if mine did that to me. (after a good loud, in office ass chewing).

I've already told my new Doc off once Long story, my old doc retired (really nice guy, I miss him) and sold his practice. I had to set the new guy straight on what I expected MY doctor-patient relationship.
Link Posted: 9/7/2004 10:59:44 AM EDT
As neilfj said, I'd make sure that the telemarketer wasn't just making crap up - call your doctor's office and talk to the office manager and mention your concerns, especially regarding HIPAA (pronounced "Hip-pa") information.

With people suing for all sorts of things these days, it's unlikely that your doc would take any kind of risks by selling your info - it may be someone on the staff doing this illegally.

It is kind of suspicious that Craftmatic makes adjustable beds - is someone on the staff related to a company representative?


Let us know how this all works out.
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