Margaret C. Scavotto, JD, CHC
President, Management Performance Associates
Last week, my husband and our five-year-old daughter took our dog to the vet for a check-up. When they came home, my five-year-old was very excited to tell me that she got to talk to Dr. Julie about Abby’s tooth cleaning and Jack’s nail trimming.
Abby and Jack are my mother’s cats, who, in case it isn’t obvious, also see Dr. Julie.
I was astounded! Until my husband reminded me: “There’s no HIPAA for cats, Margaret.”
That’s right. Of course!
But this got me thinking. If Abby and Jack were people, we would have a pretty big problem on our hands. My mother lives four minutes away. So do my nephews. So do my aunt and uncle. There’s some overlap in doctors and dentists in our family (in addition to veterinarians). We bump into each other all over town.
And yet, thanks to HIPAA, we all expect and trust that our medical information will be kept private. Can you imagine it any other way? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if everyone discussed everyone else’s tooth cleanings and nail trimmings all over town, as if we were cats?
Aristotle said what separates humans from the animals is rationality. I think it’s HIPAA, too.