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I think my patient rights were violated- what do I do?
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I think my patient rights were violated- what do I do?

I go to a military facility for healthcare- and my husband actually works upstairs in the medical building.  I was calling to try and make a same day appointment as I am 22 weeks pregnant (with a high risk pregnancy) and had a very sore throat. Additionally- I was going to see about making an appointment for blood work I needed as well as get a referral to a cardiologist. When I called I spoke to a very unhelpful nurse. He has never liked me in that clinic for some reason and was very rude on the phone. He wouldn't give an appointment-- when I persisted he said that I could come in on Oct 3  for my sore throat (this was Sept 25th!) (I thought- what if I had strep or soemething?)  So I decided that I would have to go to an urgent care- obviously if they wouldn't see me. While I ws still on the phone-  I began asking questions about getting in to see a doc for a referral. (In the military when you see an outside (high risk OB) who wants you to go for certain tests- you have to go back to the military doc and get a referral.) He was being rude and unhelpful and finally I did manage to get an appointment.  I got off the phone and just thought that this guy can be such a pain to deal with. That was it. Then about 20 mintues later - I got a call from my husband who said that this lady from the family practice clinic downstairs came up to have a talk with him about my "bad behavior" with her staff.  She proceded to discuss that I was asking where to get my lab work done, and that I was "abusive to her nurse. She went on and on- and said that she came to him so that he'll have a "talk" with me and fix my behavior. My husband immediately called me and told me what happened. I was livid!  She NEVER contacted me about this- to hear my side of the story or anything. SHe just decided to walk upstairs where my husband was seeing patients and started talking about me.  I feel like my privacy rights were violated. I feel alienated from seeking further healthcare in that clinic.  I did not "behave badly"- in fact if I had to do it all over again- I would have handled the situation in the same manner.  SO I called her and told her that her actions in contacting my husband were in appropriate and I felt like she had violated my rights as a patient- (especially since she never even decided to contact me first- and already made up her mind that the nurse's version of the story was to straight truth!)  **PLEASE SEE NEXT LINE *** for rest of story
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379171_tn?1247264850
She proceded to tell me that this is her protocol for "dealing with abusive patients and patients who don't behave." She said that she has gone to the spouse of the patient many times in the past. I was floored. (BTW- I AM NOT IN THE MILITARY- my husband is).  (By the way - I have never even met this women before). She went on and on telling me that I was abusive and I said that she is not allowed to use that word with me ever again- (I never screamed at anyone, I never called anyone names, I never threatened anyone) I simply stayed persistent on the phone- trying to be my own advocate for my own health- and get my medical questions answered!  She said that "None of her nurses want to deal with me" and " that when they find out that it is me on the phone that noone wants to talk to me"  "I said what NURSES?? you are making it sound like everyone in the clinic all of the sudden knows who I am and has formed a patient hater's club on me!"  It was really bazaar. I said this was an issue with your one cranky male nurse- end of story!  I said but-now- you have made me feel very uncomforterable to even ever come in there for any care. She said well- "if you behave yourself with my staff then you won't have anything to worry about." I was floored!  I said I cannot believe that you have never heard my side of the story and yet - you have already placed all blame on me and found me guilty! There are two sides to every story.  Then she said- well- I was in the hallway when the nurse (was in an office) on the phone with me- so I said "oh yeah? If you "overheard" a half way phone conversation from all the way out in the hallway -and that you found me to be inappropriate- why didn't you get on the phone?"  This conversation just got crazier and crazier.  Anyway- when I said that I now felt uncomforterable going to that clinic and that I wanted other options- besides paying out of pocket and going to a private doctor- she said "you have no other choice- you have to come in here- unless you want to go out in town- but that is a lot of money- so it looks like you'll have to come in here and "behave" yourself.   I called the hospital patient advocate office and told them that based on this situation that I felt that my patient rights and my hipaa rights were violated. I was told that I would get a call back -- that lady never called back.  What do I do now?
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535064_tn?1293221691
I am sorry that you even had to deal w/these nasty people. I would keep making that phone call every business day until I did get a call back from a patient rep. and got some answers from someone. They make us sign all those privacy papers every year at every doctors office and then they can just talk to our spouse about anything they want to? That doesn't seem right to me. I would stand my ground and if you have to go back there walk in there with you head held high knowing that you did nothing wrong. Maybe your husband can meet you downstairs for your appts. each time so you don't feel out numbered. Don't let them win.

Best of luck
vickie
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203342_tn?1328740807
I think they way they both acted was very unprofessional and you should report them. I'm a military dependent too and we also use the military hospital. You should have a Patient's Advocacy office in the hospital. This is where you need to report the bad conduct. They will document it and put it in their file. They will also talk to them. You might also want to ask to be allowed to use a different nurse.
I don't understand about the referral though. That's something that your doctor should do. It's not something you normally talk with just a nurse about, from my understanding. I've had several referrals off base and I never really deal with nurses or techs. I get the referral from the doctor and then it goes through my insurance for approval or not.

But check into the Patient Advocacy in your hospital. Each hospital has one. They should not be allowed to treat patients this way or violate your patient's rights.

We had to use them once because my 19 year old son was mistreated, I felt. I had allowed him to make his own appointment and see the doctor on his own, thinking he was old enough. He came home very upset that the doctor was rude, talked down to him and didn't even allow him to ask all the questions he had. She had interrupted him and told him she didn't have time, etc. I felt like she only treated him this way because of his age. There's no way she would have acted this way to a Colonel or somebody. So, my son and I went to the Patient's Advocacy and made the complaint about her. Come to find out she'd had a few other complaints as well.
So you never know. These people may have had complaints already and it gets put in their file. If they get so many, they will get reprimanded and disciplined.

I hope this helps! You should stand up for your rights. Make sure that you don't stoop to their level, though, and get rude. Always remain polite and calm. Be the better person. Then they won't have much to say about you.
I wish you well. Take care,
April
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535822_tn?1389452880
Ask your Husband (as he works there ) to speak to someone on your behalf, he could do with standing up and telling your side,for you,  if it a really bad atmosphere for your sake and Baby's sake maybe better to go else where.Weird things like this do happen dont they ,its miscomunication I think from the begining. when you had the rude male Nurse with the attitude, and he made trouble.and it got out of hand , you could always put in a written complaint also.Sorry you went through this it will pass soon.
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159063_tn?1247276417
HIPPA she cannot talk to ANYONE about anything regarding you.. she broke a law.. big time.. and i would report her.
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379171_tn?1247264850
Who do you talk to about hipaa laws? WHat are the penatlies anyway?
I just don't know what to do- because- I am worried that if I do go further with this- that they will retaliate against my husband and change his orders or something horrible. Additionally-  SO far I was told that I could not go anywhere else for my medical care- unless we pay a lot of money.  There are a lot of variables in this now.  My husband did talk to someone at his base (who is actually good pals with this women who went to "speak" to my husband- so he didn't get very far- except apparently this other lady (not the one who went to my husband) said to tell me she was sorry- even though she never said that when I spoke to her-- she also said that getting me to go somewhere else for my medical care would have to be approved through the CO of the base- (and I don't think they are willing to go that far). I would - if I knew that my husband would not be effected in anyway from this situation).  I just can't get over how I was treated.  I used to be in the pharmaceutical industry and actually had hipaa training- but it has been a while (I am now a stay at home mom with a 2 year old and another due in January).  I knew enough to know that something didn't seem right here- in fact I felt very violated.   If any of you know who I should call to speak about how hipaa rights/patient rights are hadnled- I would appreciate it. Thanks
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203342_tn?1328740807
Look at my last post. Report them to the Patient's Advocacy office in the hospital. You can remain anonymous if you want.
I know it's difficult being in the military. You don't have too many choices where you go. I think if there's some way you can help smooth the waters with these people it can go a long ways.
And I don't see how they could get him transferred. I don't believe they have that much power. That would have to be his boss. I can't imagine they'd go that far.
If she apologized that's a big start. Maybe you could talk to her and explain how you felt about all of this. That might be enough to see some changes.
I wish you well.
April
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13167_tn?1327197724
I would be curious if this is a violation of HIPPA.  If the nurse didn't say anything of a medical nature - no lab results,  health concerns,  etc.,  just asked for respect for the staff,   I'm not sure this is HIPPA related.  Additionally,  Mama,  you may have signed your husband as your next of kin and allowed him all access to your medical records.  I really don't know,  it's military,  and their dependent care can be different from private care.   Had she called your boss, or been gossiping about you in the grocery store that's completely different,  but she may in fact have had the right to do this.

Does your husband know the nurses?  It would be helpful to get his opinion.  Either you have had a royal personality conflict with the one male nurse over nothing (and that does happen) or other things have happened and truly many in the nursing staff have had a difficult conflict with you along the way.  

Can you think back - by and large have you had friendly enjoyable contacts with all the other nursing staff - or have there been problems with many?

Bottom line is,  you need them.  If you can't afford off site care,  don't keep threatening them.  I don't know if they in fact have the right to refuse you,  a non military dependent,  nonemergency care.  You probably need to get all these questions answered.

Best wishes.  Sometimes karma just goes sound,  the wrong personalities collide,  and misunderstandings multiply.  I hope you get this resolved.  Pregnancy should be a joyful time.
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379171_tn?1247264850
No- I have never had issues with anyone else in the past. This guy just has never liked me-- he ven cancelled an appointment and wouldn't call me back for a week to tell my why (back in June). I was told to report him then- but I didn't. I didn't want to deal with it.
It was the person in charge of the clinic that went to my husband's office.  I am very sure that violated my rights in some way- especially since she started talking about specific things that I aksed the grumpy male nurse about- like where I am supposed to go for lab work, and EKG those types of things too.  She should have contacted me FIRST (or at least attempted to), additionally- she should have at least been open to hearing the other side of the story from me-- but she decided to become judge, jury and executioner- without any hesitiation. I haven't even ever met this person- she has no idea who I am.  This is so crazy!  I do know that offices make it a point to take a big black marker and mark out each patient's name after they have signed in- to protect thier privacy-- so what make this ok? If I wanted to keep my health matters to myself and not share them with my husband that is my right!  She never asked me if she could go discuss anything that pertained to me with him-- I never gave that kind of permission-- because I was never given that opportunity!  
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13167_tn?1327197724
mama,  what I'm saying is,  I don't know if actually does violate your rights to discuss your case with him.  I really don't know what all you have had to sign to receive benefits as his dependent.  

Is this a case of mistaken identity - she's confusing you with another patient's behavior and reputation?

I think you're very wise when you consider treading lightly here,  because absolutely your behavior - however right you are - can affect his career.  Your husband has already tried to bring this up with someone,  and was shut down.  I hate to sound all cloak and dagger,  but as you know the military can be VERY political,  and taking this issue to a higher authority could certainly affect his success.

Best wishes.
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379171_tn?1247264850
Quite frankly- we are not in the military for the long haul. We are getting out in less than two years- when my husband's commitment is over.  I am not worried about the politics- (unless they can send him to some crazy place on a whim- but he has orders where we are until 2010. Then we are done. But until then I am supposed to go to this horrible clinic on base for my healthcare. It has never been good care-- but now I have had my rights violated- and feel alienated.  
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228686_tn?1211558307
HIPAA doesn't work quite the same way with the military. You'll have to tread VERY carefully here.

I'd check very carefully with whatever papers you've signed. The military has specific protocols for getting around HIPAA. Normally the process involves an official document request entered in the registar (to effectively violate your HIPAA rights...but it's all legal).

However, depending on forms you may have signed, you may have already given written consent for them to violate your PHI (Patient Health Info) without the need to make an official request.

I'd talk to the Parient Advocate (if there is one). But be aware a patient advocate works for the hospital; their job is to protect your rights WHILE protecting the hospital from law suit.

So you may actually want to contact a military lawyer on this issue.

But... be prepared to lose.

Next time, don't fight with the nurses. Go over their heads immediately to the patient advocate or your health care provider. They'll may still be resentful, but at least they can't label you a "problem" in the way they have.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
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379171_tn?1247264850
I wasn't even "fighting" with the nurse-- I was trying to make an appointment. When I got off the phone with him- I thought that he had a horrible attitude and that was it- I went on with my day- until 20 minutes later when my husband called and said that this lad y that runs the clinic had come to his office.  
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228686_tn?1211558307
I'm sure you weren't. But these people have there own attitude about what medical care means. They tell you you should get speedy medical care and check-ups on a specific schedule and then act surprised when you're irritated you can't get an appointment for three months. Go figure.

I had a similar thing happen; I was supposed to get checked a few days after a surgery to make sure everything was okay. The soonest appointment they could give me was a month and a half later. I ended up going to the E.R. to do it, which is ridiculous.

But...that's our health care system. Listed as number 36 in terms of quality of care compared to the other countries. Which puts us right in the third world country range.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Yes and everyone made good suggestions but if the complaint didn't work out let me know as I would have specific suggestions but wouldn't want to discuss it in a public forum so you could pm with the further details if things weren't settled or for understanding benefits advocacy or appeals or violations of disability rights in general go to your local independent living center. There's one in every county of every state. Here's where to find out where they are:
http://www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/index.html
You could find out specifics and suggestions there too.
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