Whether you are at the doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic awaiting treatment for you or your loved one, how many of you read the fine print on those multi-page legal notices pertaining to privacy practices? I suspect not many, yet you sign them anyway, especially when you are at your most vulnerable. But, have you read them recently?
A caller to The Hagmann & Hagmann Radio Report said that she took her daughter to a medical facility for treatment of an illness on December 4, 2012. Among the forms she was handed was a two-page privacy notice that she was given pursuant to state and federal law. Upon arriving back home and after things settled down, she decided to review the paperwork she received from the medical facility - despite not having a magnifying glass that would have helped get through the tiny, 8 point font.
Buried in the middle of page two of this finely typed legal notice oriented in landscape format, located between the subheadings of “military” and “inmates” is an interesting addition to at least one hospital’s privacy disclosure statement. Under the heading of “National Security,” the notice states that the treating medical facility may disclose your health information to federal officials “in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state.”
Please stop here and carefully consider that statement. It is critical to point out that this statement is an addition to the typical national security warning seemingly ubiquitous in post 9-11 disclosure statements in America. It specifically identifies the President [of the United States], other officials or foreign heads of state. Again, please contemplate the meaning of these words, their intent and the context in which they are written.