Thursday, January 8, 2009

What is the Big Deal About Giving Out Your Address???

Our company policy is to ask every patient picking up a prescription for their address. We do this to ensure that we are giving the correct prescription to the correct person. We do this for everyone's safety.

About once per week or so, we get some lunatic who goes crazy about having to give out his address at the counter. Yesterday was one of those days...

Our pharmacy counter has multiple cash registers, so multiple people can pick up prescriptions at the same time. Each register is situated about 5 feet apart. There is some room for privacy, but not a whole lot. Unfortunately, that was the way the pharmacy was designed, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. Well, this one lady decided to make a scene because we asked her for her address while another customer was at another register picking up a prescription. She started proclaiming that we were violating HIPAA and invading her privacy. She started complaining that we shouldn't even have more than one person at the counter at one time. She was really making quite an ass out of her self.

One of the pharmacists went up there to try to address the situation, but the woman kept on going about this grievous invasion of her privacy. She told the pharmacist that she obviously has no idea about HIPAA, and she even called this pharmacist pathetic in the way she handles personal privacy. She asserted that she should never have to say her name or her address when coming to the pharmacy counter. "Even doctor's offices don't call out names in the waiting room anymore!!" (How do they call people when it's time for their appointment then????)

The other customers in line (who she had no problem making a huge scene in front of, but wouldn't want them to possibly know her address) started to chime in and basically tell her to shut up. One guy said to her, "lady, it's just your address." This, while being funny, pissed her off even more. She told us to just give her the prescriptions, and she'll find a new pharmacy.

The pharmacist responded, "I wish that pharmacy good luck dealing with you."

I was busy trying to help a customer while all this was going on, so I couldn't really get involved in the situation. The whole time she was ranting and raving at the counter my blood was boiling just thinking about the things I wanted to say to her but couldn't (for various reasons). This blog is my chance to respond.... to EVERYONE who makes a fuss over giving their address at the pharmacy counter:

Who the fuck do YOU think you are??? Do you think anyone really gives a shit about your address? No one gives a shit about you. No one cares. You're not Angelina Jolie. You're not Brad Pitt. No one knows who you are. No one wants to know who you are. You're a nobody picking up a couple prescriptions at a local pharmacy. Stop acting like somebody cares about your inconsequential life.

Furthermore, saying your address at the pharmacy counter is NOT a violation of HIPAA, and if you assert that I do not know HIPAA, you are WRONG! I know HIPAA. I've been "HIPAA trained" countless times. HIPAA is part of my job. My company pays me quite well to know this stuff. What do YOU do for a living that makes you such an expert on private health information? In 99% of the cases, I know more than you about this, so don't fucking argue with me.

A violation of HIPAA would be if I attached your name, address, or some other identifier to your health information. For example, if I asked you for your name and then loudly blurted out, "Are you picking up Klonopin?", that would be a violation of HIPAA. It allows other people to know your health information. Stating your name and address is NOT a violation. No health information is contained in your name and address except for the fact that you use our pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. If you want to argue that this is a violation of your privacy, then maybe you should show up with a bag over your head so no one could see you either.

In fact, please show up with a bag over your head because anyone who makes a big scene about this shit probably shouldn't be seen in public.

Our pharmacy fills over 2,000 prescriptions per week for hundreds of patients. 99.9% of them don't complain over giving out their address at the pharmacy. If you complain, don't you think there's something wrong with YOU and not US. You are the extremely vocal and retarded minority in this case.

Right after the moron stormed away from the counter, the next man in line said, "There's always an asshole in every bunch." He's damn right about that one.


Shieldmaiden96 said...

If she was so worried about someone hearing, why didn't she just get her driver's license out and show it to the person who asked for her address?

I hate people.

Shalom said...

Because that would have required her to have had a brain in her head.

Even easier: write it down on a piece of paper and show it to the cashier.

Some people complain that they get poor service everywhere they go, and it never occurs to them that they themselves might be the cause of this.

Keri said...

Oh man. Try all the paranoid Alaskans.

All the mountain men in for their seasonal trip in for supplies acts like you will immediately call the FBI, IRS, and every other government agency to the doorstep of the cabin if you have their address.

Not that 90% of them even have real addresses. It also is difficult in some villages where all mail goes to:

Joe Smith
General Delivery
Random Village, AK 99999

I mean, those folks don't even have real addresses. They come up with a new address each time they're in the pharmacy.

The Ole' Apothecary said...

I always found it remarkable how many people didn't have a telephone. Outside of pharmacy, I don't think I've ever met more than one or two people who genuinely do not have a telephone. But, that was before cellular phones. They can't yak on their phones at the counter and also claim to be incommunicado.

sickofstupidpeople said...

Our pharmacy asks for month and day of birth as an identifier along with their name. I've had people throw fits about that, too. I've wanted to ask, many times, "What? Are you afraid that the lady behind you will send you a birthday card? Don't worry - after your behavior, she doesn't like you enough to do that"
It's amazing how many people think HIPAA laws equate to complete anonymity. Come on, we're not stupid - it's not like we're going to announce over the PA "John Doe, your Viagra is ready!"

James said...

My favorite is when the 50 year old woman starts ranting and raving when you ask her date of birth when she's dropping off the script.