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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 13126
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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There was an incident in my Dentists office recently that

Resolved Question:

There was an incident in my Dentist's office recently that I need your help to address the problem. I am a disabled Veteran with a 30% disability for my lower back and knees. That was in 1993. Since then, the problems have only gotten worse. Recent X-Rays have shown moderate arthritis in both knees and my lower back. I have been taking hydro condone and Flexeril combined with physical therapy to alleviate the pain and relax my lower back muscles. The problem with my back has gotten so severe that I have given up the game of golf and now use a cane during the Winter months.

I have been a patient of this Dentist office for over 4 years. On my latest visit to the Dentist office, while using a cane for the first time in her office, my Dentist asked what the problem was. I told her the information contained in the paragraph above. She asked me what I was taking for the pain, and I told her Flexeril, ibuprophen, and when necessary, Hydro condone. Boy, was that a mistake.

She immediately said that Hydro condone upset her stomach. Clearly she has had some experience with the medication. She then changed pronouns, and stated in a loud voice, that "YOU would start to develop a tolerance to the medication and start taking more and more." And that "YOU will start taking it just to get high." And that "YOU will develop a dependency and go through withdrawal symptoms when YOU start to use less." All this was said in the front exam room within hearing distance of the front office and the waiting area.

Also, after this exchange, her staff started treating me differently. Instead of a pleasant "Good afternoon, how are you doing?" It was now thinly veiled disgust: "We'll, I guess I'm ready for now"

I DON'T want to file a formal complaint with the California Board of Medicine. But I DO want to let her know that what she did was out of line and in violation of HIPPA rules regarding a patient's Right to Privacy! Also, her commenting on the pain management set up by my Primary Care Physician (PCP) is in violation of either HIPPA or Medical Board of California protocols.

I need your help in finding the exact terminology to use, the chapter and verse of either the Medical Board of California or HIPPA protocols/procedures/rules and advice on how best to present my case.

She is a good Dentist and it is the best Dental office I have found, mainly because of the excellent Office Manager, the full professional staff, and all the up to date dental equipment. But her OVERREACTION to my use of Hydro condone (10/325 tabs, 1/2 tab every 4 hours) and her staff's subsequent behavior, was unprofessional and borders on slander/character assassination.

Please help me find the exact chapter and verses (Medical Board of California and/or HIPPA) that refer to Patient's Right to Privacy and where it says that a Dentist (or any other Doctor) should not be commenting on the treatment/pain management regime set up by the patient's Primary Care Physician.

Please advise. Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  DocPhilMD replied 1 year ago.

DrPhilMD :

Hello. I'm Dr. Phil, licensed and practicing Internal Medicine Physician. Excellent service is my goal.

Customer: Hii
DrPhilMD :

hi I'm Dr. Phil

DrPhilMD :

Nice to meet you

Customer: Nice to meet you. I hope you can help!
DrPhilMD :

I think I can. How exactly would you like to go about this?

Customer: Take some time to read my question and tell me if you can help
DrPhilMD :

Ok. Hang on. let me read again.

DrPhilMD :

I think this is out of my realm of expertise.

DrPhilMD :

Would it be okay if I opted out for another expert?

Customer: Do you have someone in mind?
DrPhilMD :

No not really

DrPhilMD :

This might be better for legal

DrPhilMD :

I can tell you that I don't think this is a HIPAA violation though

DrPhilMD :

definitely unprofessional but not a violation of HIPAA

DrPhilMD :

I think any action against her is going to have to be a formal complaint to the board of dentistry

DrPhilMD :

for unprofessional behavior

Customer: Can you pass it on to someone in legal with knowledge of HIPPA rules? :-(
Customer: If so ;-)
DrPhilMD :

I will alert the moderators of this but it may take a while

DrPhilMD :

is that okay.

DrPhilMD :

I will opt out and alert the mods.

DrPhilMD :

If a medical expert can help then they can jump in.

DrPhilMD :

If not, you can wait for legal

Customer: Alright thank you
DrPhilMD :

ok. hang on

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.



Hello: I am sorry to hear about your mistreatment. Unfortunately, the Dentist and her office did not break HIPAA Privacy Rule. They did not disclose your medical information to a third party without your consent. The Dentist was merely communicating to you about the dangers of dependency on prescription pain killers albeit she went about it the wrong way. She may not even realize that she offended you. So, the first course of action here would be to speak with her about your concerns. Then if you are not satisfied with her explanation/actions, then you can file complaint against her for unprofessional conduct with California Dental Board:




http://www.dbc.ca.gov/consumers/complaint_info.shtml






Click here for more information on HIPAA Privacy Rule:




http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/index.html

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
However, she is my DENTIST! Not my Primary Care Physician (PCP). I didn't ask for her input nor her opinion.

Why is she asking and commenting (UNSOLICITED) on the pain medication regime determined by my PCP! She projected her experience with hydrocodone onto me in a voice loud enough for the front office and waiting area to hear. I didn't ask for her opinion. And her answer (UNSOLICITED) was tantamount to interference in the relationship between myself and my PCP. Surely that violates Medical Board of California protocols.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

However, she is my DENTIST! Not my Primary Care Physician (PCP). I didn't ask for her input nor her opinion.

Why is she asking and commenting (UNSOLICITED) on the pain medication regime determined by my PCP! She projected her experience with hydrocodone onto me in a voice loud enough for the front office and waiting area to hear. I didn't ask for her opinion. And her answer (UNSOLICITED) was tantamount to interference in the relationship between myself and my PCP. Surely that violates Medical Board of California protocols.


Response
: I quite understand your frustrations. However, you asked a question and I answered it and provided you a link to back up my answer. I also gave you a link to file complaint with California Dental Board. I have ethical and professional obligation to provide you accurate information eventhough that information may not be what you want to hear.



Here is a link once more to file complaint with California Dental Board:




http://www.dbc.ca.gov/consumers/complaint_info.shtml



Best wishes,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The issue is complicated. There are two parts. The law as outlined by HIPPA. And protocols as outlined by ethical standards by the Medical Board of California. It is tough getting an expert from two intellectually challenging fields of both Law and Medicine. Even though in your opinion, she violated no laws, can you also assure me that no Medical Board of California protocols were violated?

BTW: What would you have done in my situation?

Thank you in advance.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The issue is complicated. There are two parts. The law as outlined by HIPPA. And protocols as outlined by ethical standards by the Medical Board of California. It is tough getting an expert from two intellectually challenging fields of both Law and Medicine. Even though in your opinion, she violated no laws, can you also assure me that no Medical Board of California protocols were violated?


Response 1: I believe you already know the answer to your question: no I cannot assure you that. That's why I suggested that you file Complaint with the Dental Board. The Board would ultimately decide after reviewing your complaint whether she violated protocols.



BTW: What would you have done in my situation?

Thank you in advance.



Response 2
: I would speak to the Dentist about my concerns and if the Dentist starts giving me attitude, I will file complaint with the Dental Board against the Dentist.

Let me know if you need further clarification.



Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Satisfied Customers: 13126
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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