I Just Wanted To Say...

What is your problem?

Name:
Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.

10/27/2005

Gritting my teeth.

Had to attend a mandatory HIPPA(Health Insurance and Portability Privacy Act) training class yesterday and I thought my eyeballs would explode out of my head before it was over.

The conference room was full of upper level police and fire department personnel, court staff, investigators, computer center staff and sundry supervisory personnel from all over the county. Mature and responsible adults.

This sweet young thing from personnel steps up to the podium and begins:

"Now my name is M--- and I am going to talk to you about HIPPA and how important it is and I really want you to pay attention to me, because nobody here wants to get into trouble, do they?" Giggle, giggle. She proceeds to inform us that while HIPPA guidelines are federal, the local county governing body has decided to "improve and refine" those guidelines. Which amounts to the typical, we're going to cover our asses scenario, so that almost anything becomes illegal if they determine it to be so. It was a long, downhill slide from that point on. Her presentation was an incredibly patronizing, condescending piece of tripe.

Care for a few gems?

"Gossip is a bad thing because it hurts people!" Giggle, giggle.

"It's important for you to know your password in order to get onto your computer." Giggle, giggle.

"If an employee calls in sick and doesn't want to tell you what the sickness is, don't push it , because that information could be covered under the HIPPA act and you might not have a need to know." Giggle, giggle.
This was in response to a supervisor asking for a clarification of an item in the handout referring to an employee's right to privacy. When the supervisor protested and asked how was she supposed to determine if the employee was being factual, the reply was:
"If you have any questions about health privacy issues, you can contact the Deputy Privacy Director for guidance." Giggle, giggle

I found the training class irritating on a personal level, because of the way it was presented. But underneath that there was a level of disquiet that grew once I got over my irritation. First, because it is further proof to me that the idiots have indeed taken over the asylum and now exchanging information about a co-worker's health can cause you problems on your job. Second, because that term "Deputy Privacy Director" evokes in me shadowy images of communism and group-speak from Orwell's 1984. But last and the thing that worries me the most, is that in spite of her inane giggles and moronic presentation, she was completely serious about "improper exchanges of information" causing trouble. That and the fact that she and her bosses are the final determinant as to what constitutes an "improper exchange of information".
Gulags, anyone?

3 Comments:

Blogger Cosmic Siren said...

"If an employee calls in sick and doesn't want to tell you what the sickness is, don't push it , because that information could be covered under the HIPPA act and you might not have a need to know." Giggle, giggle.

I wish this woman was at my last job. My boss was waaaay toooo nosey about people's lives and health problems - and she would insist she knew better than your own doctor. If you stayed home for something she didn't think was serious - and if she didn't like you, it wouldn't matter what it was, it wasn't serious - she'd give you hell.

You might consider it Orwellian, but I don't. I consider it basic courtesy and after working some place where people talked too much about other people, I would welcome it.

I've worked places where you shared almost nothing about personal lives and I liked it that way. People should mind their own business - especially those who think they have a right to tell people whether or not they should come to work.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Siren said...

By "it" I meant your workplace's measures for personal security.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Phelps said...

That's actually our policy now. We have "personal time off", which is our sick days and personal days lumped together, and a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on illness. We are just supposed to say that we are ill, and out boss isn't supposed to ask beyond that.

So that just means that I emailed my boss one handed with my blackberry a couple of weeks ago and didn't even get out of bed.

3:48 PM  

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