Current Affairs · Health Care · Wellness

Health privacy

A friend shared a lengthy letter about health care reform today; a line-by-line commentary, reportededly from a doctor, printed in the Indianapolis Star last summer. From Snopes, it’s a mix of fact and fiction and from an earlier edition than the current proposal. However…

I observed my reactions; and I have definite opinions about some things. One is choice and health freedom; the other is personal health and medical privacy.

As a wellness coach, reader, and former farm girl, the close-to-nature, holistic, alternative, and complementary practices and practioners are my personal health practices and preferences. And the less government in it, the better. (They’ve demonstrated, with all the increased obesity, weight gain, and many destructive side-affects on their approved drugs, dyes, and chemicals, that they are not in the wellness business; neither are the pharmaceutical companies; and FDA-approved does not mean ‘safe’ or better or healthy.) And bigger does not better either. Food Inc has more.

I am also suspicious of a system that wants all my medical and other private information in a single database. How about you? I know there are good things to be gained…and also potential for mis-use. So what if I LIMIT and control the information I contribute to it. For example:

ID numbers. Just because there’s a line, doesn’t mean it has to be filled in. Do not provide a full Social Security Number on any medical form or employment application. If they’ve got that info already, I use the last four digits so they can verify it with their records. If they don’t, do they need it? and Why? Prospective employers, for example, don’t need it until they’ve made you a job offer…The offer may be contingent on the results of any records check they need to do. Until the offer, however, no SS# is required. Their ‘system’ may require one. If so, you’ll have to decide if it’s a system you want to be part of. And never have your SS# and your date of birth on the same form or in your wallet at the same time–the advice of a police detective specialized in identity theft.

Medical history. My medical history is only about me…not that of any other family member, sibling, parent, spouse, etc. Again, just because there’s a line, or a doctor or employer or anyone else asks, that doesn’t mean they need to know or that I have to tell them. We give way too much information away…private, personal information that is not ours to give. Do you want someone blabbing your private health information to anyone who asks? I don’t. And I respect their privacy as much as I want mine to be respected. Golden rule and HIPPA. And if you get permission from a family member to share their personal health information, never use their name or other personal identifying data when volunteering the information.

Minimize your trail. If you want insurance to pay for something, there will be a trail. Like car insurance, sometimes it makes more sense to handle situations and pay privately. What do you want on record? And what doesn’t need to be there? Utilize wellness resources, nutritional support, complementary and alternative practioners, to maintain health. Not covered or paid by insurance minimizes your trail.

Just some thoughts… . Take care.

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