A question for you all: Does HIPAA prevent a healthcare provider from revealing a teen-ager's medical information (regarding a minor injury) directly to the child (who is competent and capable of understanding)?
It would seem to me that the common sense answer would be no, but common sense and HIPAA don't seem to go together.
Here's the situation: My 13-year old daughter injured her ankle at precisely 6pm last Thursday, just as the doctor's office was closing. I took her to Urgent Care, where she was examined, given pain meds, X-rayed, and sent home on crutches with an air splint. The physician who saw her indicated that he did not see a fracture on the X-ray. We were referred to her primary doc for follow-up, and told (by both the doc and nurse) that we would be called by the radiologist the next day only
if his reading of the X-ray disagreed with the initial reading by the Urgent Care doc.
We heard nothing, and assumed we were dealing with a sprain. At 9pm on Friday, while Hubby and I were out, my daughter received a phone call from U.C. stating that her X-ray results were available, but could not be given to her due to HIPAA. She was rattled, because she assumed that since we were being called, she had a fracture. She called me on my cell phone so I could return the call to U.C. Unfortunately, the call-back number she was given was an internal extension that did not accept outside calls. I called the Children's Hospital which runs the U.C. and explained that I was trying to return a call for X-ray results, and the operator kept transferring me to pathology, not radiology. After 3 or 4 tries, I gave up, and decided to call the next day.
The next day, I reached the U.C., and was told that I would have to wait for the nurse to call me. I'm sure that she was trying to make calls between patients, so by late afternoon, I finally heard that my daughter's X-rays were fine.
Now, I'm glad that she doesn't have a broken bone, but can anyone explain to me why no one would give that information to my responsible, competent 13-year-old daughter, even if it was accompanied by instructions to have her parents call back? And why is it soooo difficult to get a simple test result over the phone????
OK. I feel better now that I've vented.