We all can give an anecdote about how we live daily with less privacy. However, in a more compact way, examine for a moment how this erosion is performed in our lives every day as increasingly–and frequently, subtly–we unwittingly give away access to highly personal, medical info.
In regular personal injury law, claimants (a claimant is a person who»puts their physical or medical condition at issue» in a lawsuit for injuries caused by a car collision or other incidental or deliberate act) innocently surrender psychiatric and medical information. As an example, most legal professionals will tell you that they anticipate, by bringing a lawsuit, a person who’s claiming injury will give up any privacy interest they have in medical records and data concerning their treatment. But how much will that waiver expand? Within our country, if you claim being $60 million in debt for medical expenses caused you emotional stress, you’re most likely going to hand the»other side» your psychiatric records for the past thirty years on a silver platter, presuming that these documents exist!
Can the federal government act to save our healthcare information rights? Back in April, 2003 a new, comprehensive medical information privacy law has been effected that purports to augment medical record privacy by prescribing how much doctors can say to insurance companies and related entities. (This is also the law which makes us stand in line, allegedly far enough from a pharmacist or medical secretary so that we can’t hear what’s said to the person in the front of the line.)
But what more can you do to protect your privacy?
When You’re asked by a paralegal, victim advocate, or an attorney to sign a release for medical advice, demand:
– A Opportunity to approve to whom the release is given after you register
– the Chance to limit the length of time that the discharge is successful
– The nature of the discharge concerns the continuing subject of the matter at issue
When you meet with your doctor, pharmacist, or lawyer:
– Immediate your doctor and pharmacist to not use your medical or pharmaceutical information for any»commercial or marketing function»
– Immediate your lawyer’s office, their employees, and paralegals (especially if you are a complainant in a criminal or insurance law case) to inform you to whom and for what purpose your documents are shared
Most important, when you’ve just been given a document, or you’re confronting any situation where you’re»putting your medical history at issue» in a lawsuit, or a claim for disability insurance benefits, or anything having to do with money, think very carefully about the long-term significance and each implication of signing that document. You’re promoting your privacy, so think about the purchase price!
Don’t forget, information is power. Even your information.