Saturday, August 31, 2013

Your health care providers don't really understand that your information is yours

Your health care providers (and their billers) do not really always understand that your information is yours and should be easily accessible, so you will have to go on the offensive mission and gather it even if they treat you like an annoying fraudulant fraudster (or like they think you're a hypochondriac and not a responsible adult trying to be organized). 

Cut them some slack because, in theory, they make it this hard in order to protect you and your information from unsavory types who might want to steal it.  It's just a rather unfortunate side effect that all this protection makes it a hassle for you to obtain it, as well.  (And judging by the amount of it that gets stolen every year, not that much of a hassle for the unsavory types to obtain.)

Frankly, you know you're working with good providers if they send you a copy of it (or post it online) automatically after your visit. If they do this, then you know that they believe that you should be a participant in your own care and not simply a consumer.  However, this isn't common, so be ready for arcane rules, regulations, and hurdles not clearly posted anywhere.  Be ready to make lots of phone calls and follow-up calls and records of the names of the people you talked to, their phone numbers, job titles, dates and times of conversations.  I wish it weren't like this, and maybe things will get better soon, but for now, you will have to hustle to get what is rightfully yours.

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