Sunday, February 10, 2008

HIPAA and the Press

The Chicago Bears, Brian Urlacher and HIPAA

No, this is not a joke. It has been most interesting reading sports columnists and broadcasters lament to a great common chorus that no one knows about the extent of Urlacher’s injury and his neck surgery. The Bears aren’t talking, the doctors aren’t talking and nobody else is talking. It is as if some serious plot has developed to keep the real story from the media. Hogwash…..

As a 20 year healthcare executive life changed a few years ago when HIPAA became the law of the land. Simply put, if an individual does not want anything released about their medical condition, treatment, so forth and so on, that was that. No press leaks, no briefings from the Bears, no info from the hospital, doctor’s or anybody else. The federal government has clamped down really hard on the privacy issue and this falls into that. Urlacher is the only person, who can make the decision on who does or does not receive any information about his medical condition or treatments. Who he designates as being able to receive information is prohibited from releasing any content. If you want to know you have to speak to Urlacher.

What you simply have here is that he decided not to allow for the release of medical information. The Bears won’t say anything, the hospital won’t say anything, and the doctors won’t say anything. Why, simply put they are prohibited by Federal law. Big fines, imprisonment, law-suits, malpractice judgments and loss of professional license will result if found violating HIPPA. That’s all it is, nothing more than that.

Gone are the days when tips would be called in. Staff will get fired for that. As a healthcare marketing executive, HIPAA makes life a lot easier for me and not having to deal with the press. Privacy is privacy and the law make no distinction whether you are Joe average or a superstar. Everybody is this same. It does make the media job harder.

So everyone please stop with the grand conspiracy theories and keeping things quite because the Bears don’t want others to know. It’s all about privacy and his wanting some. Everybody is pulling the media chain, you guys give free press and the Bears and NFL are laughing all the way to the bank.

Frankly, as a Bears PSL and season ticket holder, at this point could care less. They will be bad next year and the year after that. I have no confidence in an arrogant coaching and administrative staff, that can’t change and adapt to different situations. They are self delusional in thinking that and believing that they are better than they are. Their window slammed shut and is closed tight for at least another three years.