At dinner last night I learned from Dr. Jodie McAlister something very interesting.  Physicians must no longer defend themselves from charges of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations.  They must also prove regularly that they have not violated the act even in the absence of accusations that a violation has occurred.  

Some history on this law.  It is also known as the “Kennedy-Kassebaum” act, after the two socialist authors.  After the complete rejection of the Clinton health care plan, the Republican-led house and senate (Gingrich and Dole-Lott) delivered to Bill Clinton for his signature, this large bill, one that contained many (some would argue most) of the provisions of Hilary’s attempted takeover of U.S. health care.  

None of the privacy provisions apply to federal or state agencies, of course.  HIPPA basically gave the government at all levels a monopoly on health privacy invasion.  The new HIPPA regulations (this law apparently changes constantly like Obamacare) revealed to me last night effectively force physicians to prove they are not guilty at regular intervals.  Why would these new regulations appear and why now?

I believe that every effort is being made to render the private practice of medicine all but impossible.  These new regulations, like Gingrich’s favorite expensive electronic medical record systems very effectively drive physicians to the brink, making them better targets for the hospital systems wanting to “buy” their practices.  

Physicians frequently say things like, “..all I want to do is take care of patients and practice medicine.”  The gang in D.C. has worked hard for many years to make this much more difficult, essentially a gift to the well-connected hospital systems, most of which make a regular habit of buying their patient referrals, either directly or indirectly by hostile takeovers of physician practices.  

Fortunately, many physicians are walking away from the traps that render them susceptible to HIPPA violations and many who have made the mistake of selling their practices to hospital systems are walking away from these arrangements.  Washington seems determined to force physicians to work for someone other than their patient.  Let’s hope widespread and sufficient will to resist this onslaught will prevail.  

G. Keith Smith, M.D.