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My surgeons office sent out email with all patients names CC'd. How upset would you be?



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I did call the office. I started with the program director who sent out the email yesterday. She admitted it was a mistake and she simply forgot to Bcc and instead just Cc'd everyone in the program. She apologized but the damage has been done. After that I spoke with the office manager who apologized as well. I do know one person on the list (the mother of a friend of mine) and Im hoping she ignored the email and didn't take the time to read the hundreds of names on the list. Im still pretty upset. If an office can't be trusted with following simple HIPPAA policies how good are they at taking care of me? I've gone through all the hurdles and my surgery is just three weeks away. I don't want to start over yet Im having trouble mentally wrapping my brain around hundreds of people knowing I've had the surgery and having my contact info. I need to get past this and get back in the right frame of mind but Im still pissed and hurt.

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Your HIPAA rights were violated.

And other privacy rights of yours were also violated by this egregious email mishandling.

In your situation I'd consult an attorney.

What a f**k-up!

Absolutely.

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You have done the best thing you can to address the issue.

Please don't let this derail your efforts and focus.

You just have to trust that what is supposed to happen will happen.

I doubt seriously anyone will be combing through such a long list.

I understand your anger and disappointment that your email address was shared but you really need to decide how much energy you want to devote to worrying that someone will see it.

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I'd be PI**ED!!!!

serious breach of confidentiality!

I'm sure you and about 499 other patients called the office this morn!

I wonder if anyone will be reprimanded? (Is that the correct word? "Get in trouble")

Edited by heather5565

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I entirely agree with everyone else on this thread - I would be totally livid if this happened to me, but we do have to accept that people do make mistakes (even if they are huge) and that you made the decision to have surgery for a reason don't allow someone else's mistake to damage the future you are choosing for yourself.

Ultimately once you have had surgery and are feeling more confident and comfortable you may choose to share your decision with a few more people, that's your choice, I'm just speaking from experience now as I made similar choices around sharing information with others pre-op but have now chosen to speak to five or six close friends regarding my decision and reasons and I am lucky everyone is 100% supportive and encouraging.

Concentrate on why you have chosen to do this and what you want to achieve, confidentiality breaches are wrong but it can't be taken back and you have so much more to lose (possibly in more ways than one) to allow this to affect your entire future, if people do find out and ask you about it, be brave and tell the truth, say it was a mistake or anything you like - it's nobody else's business just do what's best for you.

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I would be mad, too. Unfortunately, being mad does not un-ring that bell. You've let them know how you feel, and you could consult an attorney. Maybe they would have to pay a fine.

For me, it would come down to how much effort I wanted to spend making them pay, vs how much I wanted to continue to go there. I also am private and didn't tell many people. However, 3 years later it's much less of a big deal to me. My docs office put my before and after picture in their waiting room book, and someone who went there for another type of surgery mentioned it to me! It even had my before weight in it, along with health conditions. I'm pretty sure I didn't sign the consent for that. I just decided to let it go. I like them, they have been really good to me, and now I feel like maybe I could help someone. The law is the law, and it's on your side here, but it really comes down to what matters most to YOU.

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As a worker in the health care field I can tell you that is a definite HIPPA violation and you need to put a stop to that practice of emailing ASAP.

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Missy407,

I’d be furious, and I’m really sorry this happened to you. I agree – it sounds like a HIPAA violation:

““Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to:

  • the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
  • the provision of health care to the individual, or
  • the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,

and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual.”

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/index.html

I would definitely contact the office and find out what happened – whether it was an innocent mistake, possibly by a new employee, or if that’s the office’s standard practice. You could also ask what they intend to do to fix the problem and possibly compensate you in some way.

If you want, you could pursue it. I think you can file a complaint through HHS. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html

Again, I’m really sorry this happened to you. On the positive side, those 500 plus email recipients who now know your personal information are probably very sympathetic to your situation.

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My docs office put my before and after picture in their waiting room book, and someone who went there for another type of surgery mentioned it to me! It even had my before weight in it, along with health conditions.

Wow. OP's issue is definitely not ok, but this is in another league entirely.

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Huge HIPPA VIOLATION! I would be really really mad!

My docs office put my before and after picture in their waiting room book, and someone who went there for another type of surgery mentioned it to me! It even had my before weight in it, along with health conditions.

Wow. OP's issue is definitely not ok, but this is in another league entirely.

OH HECK NO!

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You can take the email and file a HIPAA violation. I can help you do that if you want to PM me.

I would also advertise who the doctor was. I'm putting together things because I want others to be safe, and to show them just how these "medical boards" and the like act and better ways of getting justice for hurt patients.

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This does appear to be a HIPPA violation. You did exactly the right thing by reporting it to your doctor's office so they can correct their mistake and keep from making more. Good luck with your upcoming surgery. Just for the record, I had my sleeve 3 yrs ago, I paid a lot more of a deductible to try to keep my fellow meddling RN friends at the hospital where I worked out of my business and 10 days after surgery was 911'd to the hospital where I worked!! Cat sure got out of the bag quickly, but not like thought it would. These friends I'd tried to keep in the dark changed and saved my life..I'm not trying to minimize your situation, just share with you how life has a way of doing what it pleases.

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