More about doctors and privacy
October 21, 2009 5:57 AM Subscribe
What exactly can a doctor's office tell anyone who happens to pick up your phone?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've recently come across couple of issues with doctor's offices and privacy. The first one was my mental health clinic, who dialed my home phone number. My boyfriend picked up and told them I wasn't home (I wasn't), and my mental health clinic said "well X therapist would like to make an appointment to see her." My bf doesn't live with me and they didn't even ask who he was when they left that message. I called them and said WTF, but they said that by providing them my home number, I authorized them to leave non-specific (i.e. no details about my care) messages there. I had no idea they were allowed to speak to anyone who answered the phone! Are they? (Note, I've since told them they are only allowed to call my cell phone number and they agreed.)
The other issue: My mom went to a specialist and specifically gave them only her cell phone number because she did not want them to give her test results to my dad. Specialist's office requested my mom to get her records from the general practitioner, which she provided. They pulled her home number off the GP's records and called the house. She went in to Specialist's office and explained that she was preparing to separate from my father and she did NOT want them calling him, they said, "well that will be a problem." Two days later they called when she wasn't home and told my dad the test results, when she explicitly told them not to. To me this is even worse than the first case because they did not leave a general message - they gave him test results! After she did not give them permission to and even specifically told them not to! Isn't that illegal?
When you go to a doctor's office, you usually have to fill out a form with the names of the people they may release information to. Why are the doctors' offices, then, not checking these forms and asking who they are speaking to when calling a phone number?