My Rant DuJour: Privacy Issues and Medical Care

I know, I know, I’m always complaining about these things…

But I got a referral to a dermatologist recently. Not a big deal, just a little bump that needed to be checked out. I traveled two hours to get there because the referral was made before my recent move North. Not a huge deal, but not much fun early on a Friday morning.

It also decided to snow that morning. After 70+ degree temps, it decided to snow. So be it.

My iPhone mapping program apparently didn’t have the most recent maps and sent me to BFE instead of to the new medical plaza area in Somerset, KY. I arrived on time, but barely.

When I arrived, I was asked for my insurance card. Not a problem. I was then asked for my social security number. I’m used to avoiding this issue. I’ve not had to raise my voice or tilt my tone over this in many months because I selected an insurance provider that doesn’t require that I use this as a form of identification. I like that. I refuse to give such info to just anyone. It’s unnecessary.

I explained that my group and member number would suffice. They disagreed. They also asked me for a copy of my drivers license. I asked why they needed it. They needed a photo ID. I asked why.

Because, I was told, it would protect me from anyone claiming to be me walking in and getting my private records. It was for my own good, they said. I asked how that would protect me. They said that they made a copy of the photo ID and put it in my file and it was in their computer so they would compare it to anyone asking for my info. I told them I understood and handed them a copy of my business card, which has a photo image on the front.

They said that was unacceptable. They needed an official photo. I regurgitated the reason they had just given me and said (holding the image up to my face) that this should suffice to visually identify me should that need ever arise.

They said it was a new mandate and was going into effect next year. I told them we could discuss it next year. They said that it had to be in order by April 1st for their office. I pointed out that it was not yet the end of March, so I shouldn’t be affected. Long story short… I was denied service because I would not produce my drivers license.

I didn’t really care for their privacy policy either, which stated that I could request that they not share my information, but they had final say on that and although they would take my wishes into consideration, they would do as they pleased. Isn’t that cool? I’m so glad they would consider my wishes about my information. They are so thoughtful!

Might I also add that they got all squirrel-ly when I asked to see a copy of the privacy policy that I was signing the paper to say that I’d been provided. They finally handed me a framed copy under glass, rather than one I could keep with my own records.

They were also a bit huffy when I prepared to leave and asked that my papers (the ones I filled out with my personal information before I was declined service) be returned to me. I was told they would shred them. I told them no, that they would hand them over to me and I would shred them myself. I stood there unmoving, unflinching until the receptionist rightly determined that I’d be less trouble if they just handed over the papers in question than if she continued to decline my request.

I cannot possibly be the only person in the world that refuses to cough up every piece of personal information requested when seeking services. Note that word… SERVICES. I’m paying for them, I should be treated accordingly.

When I went to the local hospital later that same day for some x-rays (it was a whole tripping over the dog in the middle of the night, catching myself in the dark and subsequently spraining my thumb and knocking it completely out of socket incident)… I was not treated like an idiot when I declined to give them my social security number. They always ask, I always decline. It’s not a big deal. They don’t decline to offer me service.

Are people so eager to share this info that they assume that if it’s requested that it’s required? Does no one question these things anymore? Am I just bringing drama to my door by refusing?

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