A couple of weeks ago I started to think about the various conditions I’ve had treated over the years. I was trying to place when I first discovered or had something treated with significant events in my life. I found that I couldn’t reliably remember the point in time when I, for example, went to the doctor the first time about my migraines or when I had a hiatal hernia episode. At that point, I decided I needed to obtain my medical records from the various physicians and facilities I’ve been at to fill in the picture I needed.
I contacted the hospital of the ER I went to when I first had a hiatal hernia attack to see what the diagnosis went. Apparently the records from 1997 were too old and not available. I then contacted my internist to get the results of my EGD so I could see the exact result of the test. I found out that he didn’t give me all of the results after I had the procedure. The last stop in my quest for medical records was with the last family doctor I had before my current.
Calling on a Monday to a doctor’s office is asking for trouble, and I knew it. I sat on hold for nearly twenty minutes but kept calm about it. When I finally got to speak to the receiptionist, I gave her my name and said I needed a full copy of my medical records. She seemed thrown off asking me what doctor to send them too. Explaining that I am compiling a set of medical records myself, she seemed to understand. All the while I’m thinking to myself – who fucking cares – I’m asking for my shit so give it to me! Anyway, she never verified my date of birth, address, got a phone number – was told just to pick them up Thursday.
Thursday came, and even though I was told I shouldn’t call in to make sure they’re ready, I did. Big surprise, she totally forgot. [Starting to see why I left the dump?] She apologized and said that they’ll be ready by Monday. I stopped in Monday night to get the papers and walked in with my duct tape wallet, ready to retrieve my ID. I waited a few minutes to be recognized by the wait staff and then gave her my name and said I was here to pick up a copy of medical records. She walked in the back and grabbed a manila envelope, handing it to me. I asked her if she needed to see my ID at all. Her response? Nah, not really.
I left, happy to get my records and started on my way home. Mulling over the events unfolding to this day of medical enlightenment, I realized that medical office is a pile of completely unorganized dog shit. When I got home, I looked up HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and promptly filed a complaint against the office. Medical records are supposed to be closely guarded and are protected by a ton of laws. She never established that I was authorized to obtain my medical records nor did she verify my identity upon picking them up! Scary stuff. I really hope they get in trouble.
And we wonder how identity theft starts.