Into pieces

There's a girl at my middle school with a club foot requiring special shoes. Her shoes are in despicable condition: holes worn, literally falling apart layer by later. She gets free shoes from the hospital, but her mom has to take her to get them. This is the same mother who once came looking for me at the school office - thankfully I wasn't there - after I called her the same day, by coincidence, CPS had showed up at her house. Mom refuses to take her to the hospital, claiming transportation issues, and the hospital can't talk to me due to privacy concerns. I can't talk to mom either, knowing with full confidence that she will beat her daughter if I do. Needless to say, this is an ongoing case that is tugging hard on my heartstrings. Hearing the girl talk about it is bad enough; hearing from her teachers and other staff - the "what are you going to do about it?" questions toward me just pour salt into the wounds. After the CPS report in the fall, she stopped talking to me - her mom reportedly told her to not talk to the nurse anymore - she's seen me twice this week. Today, she came in, in tears, saying her feet hurt and kids were teasing her. Through her tears came the worst question of all: "Can't you get me new shoes?"  


  1. That really pisses me off. She doesn't have a case manager or social worker at the hospital who could help her? But if they won't talk to you at all because of stupid hippa (sp?) that won't help at all. I am sorry yo have to deal with this and feel awful for that poor girl.

  2. Anonymous8/9/11 14:02

    I'm the HIPAA privacy officer for a hospital.

    I'm guessing that the person at the hospital who refused/declined to speak with you about the patient (a) does not understand HIPAA requirements and her hospital's policies concerning same; or (b) didn't want to be bothered and used HIPAA as an excuse to turf the problem. Here's what the HIPAA privacy regs actually say: "a covered entity [(e.g., a hospital)] may disclose protected health information for treatment activities of a health care provider [(e.g., a school nurse)]" 45 CFR 164.506(c)(2). And such disclosures can be made regardless of whether the hospital has the authorization of the minor patient's parent/guardian.
    (disclaimer: your state's laws may be different and conceivably might override HIPAA on this point, but I doubt it).

    You might consider calling the hospital's privacy officer (the hospital's web site should have a link to its Notice of Privacy Practices, which would provide a contact number for privacy related questions and concerns) and share your story. I bet the privacy officer would steer straight who ever it was that you dealt with.

    All good wishes to you, Erin. Keep the faith.

  3. Wow, good to know! Thank you!!

  4. so what is the update on this?