A spokesman for the Iowa Hospital Association says its members are doing a good job enforcing federal privacy laws even though there are sometimes mistakes. Scott McIntyre says although a recent published report says patients have filed 267 complaints since the federal privacy law went into effect five years ago — that’s not many considering the number of patients treated.
McIntyre says there are some 11 million interactions in just hospitals alone every year, which adds up some 55-million patients served in the five years for those 267 complaints. "I don’t think that’s exactly a gaping hole," McIntyre says of the complaints. McIntyre says they do all the can to prevent mistakes.
McIntyre says, "Just like any other business that puts people into a position of trust..you see that in government, you see that in law enforcement, and education, there’s gonna be times when people make mistakes." McIntyre says. He says people sometimes make the mistake knowingly, and sometimes they don’t.
McIntyre says the hospitals work hard to avoid mistakes. He says they make employees aware of their expectations in dealing with patient trust, medical records and confidential records, and do training to help employees know the rules. McIntyre says the hospitals do take the appropriate action when their employees break the law.
McIntyre says he didn’t know if the federal government had investigated any of the complaints against Iowa health care providers.