Kristy A. Miner: Health records private
December 9, 2010
To the editor:
I was a bit irritated with the article printed last week in reference to Dr. Dennis Kinder and his move to The Memorial Hospital clinic.
As a health care professional as well as an occasional patient of Dr. Kinder's, I was at a loss for a bit of how to address my concerns. I finally realized that the trigger for my reaction could very well be a grammatical error and decided a letter to the editor was in order.
In the article, it stated that all of Dr. Kinder's patient files would be sold to the other clinic at fair market value, according to George Rohrich, chief executive officer of The Memorial Hospital in Craig.
In discussing the issues with my husband, who is also a patient of Dr. Kinder's, I have come to two points that I wish to bring to your attention.
Point one is that personal health information is protected by HIPAA laws. Anytime a patient is recommended to see a specialist, they have to sign a waiver to release their medical records to the specialist.
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If the records are being released to another clinic whether the physician is moving or not, shouldn't patients be required to sign a release form for them to move?
The way that I see it, the medical privacy waiver that I sign every year in the doctor's office is a release of information to other providers within that clinic, no others.
The second point is that I am not comfortable with the statement that my medical records, as well as all of Dr. Kinder's patients' records, are being sold for fair market value.
This is my body and I chose to see him for treatment. I did not sign up to have personal records sold to another place. This also leaves me to question if he is submitting records for money to other agencies as well, for things such as scientific research and whatnot with my name attached.
This is not a leap that I am currently saying is in practice with Dr. Kinder, but it isn't a far leap to make.
Another minor point is if he is receiving fair market value for the records, shouldn't each of his patients receive a portion since it is their charts that are moving?
These are just a few things that ran through my mind when I read the article. I am undecided if it was a grammatical error by this newspaper that printed the wording a bit confusing, or if it is actually what is intended to happen when the good doctor moves, but I know for sure that there are others in our community who feel the same way about at least one of the points mentioned in this letter.
Also, I have showed some other people outside of our community the article in question and they too have honed in on the fair market value piece.
Kristy A. Miner, RN