May 7th, 2009

Pensive Kevin

Your Papers Pliz

My Google-fu is failing me at finding specific rules on the REAL ID Act. Lisa's doctor's office informed us yesterday of new REAL ID Act (a terrible law to begin with) requirements that took effect May 1 requiring government photo ID in order to obtain medical treatment. That's annoying enough, but I'm trying to find whatever the actual regulation is, and whether it requires medical providers to take photocopies/scans of such ID, or merely ask patients to show the ID every time they apply for treatment. The people sitting on the front lines at reception desks are unlikely to know the fine details of regulations of this sort and are only going to be told to do things one and only one way even if the rules allow other possibilities, and I want to be prepared when we go deal with them this afternoon. Lisa is feeling bad enough without someone insisting that they have to have a photocopy of her passport in order to do a hearing test.
Kevin and Lisa

Dealing with Doctors

Somewhat to my surprise, the medical center did not refuse service, even though Lisa refused to let them photocopy her ID. They gave her a copy of their "new policy" which does not refer to any law, although the receptionist did say "it's the law" but seemed nonpulsed when I asked for a citation of what law. Everything on the "new financial policy" was okay except the "must provide a photocopy of your Oregon driver's license or DMV-issued ID card at every visit." (What about if you don't have an Oregon-issued ID?) Lisa crossed off that item, wrote "no" next to it, initialed it, and signed that she'd received a copy. They gave her a copy of the signed statement. They then, after talking to me, wrote "patient has moral/ethical/religious objections to providing copies of ID" in her record.

Although we never got an explanation of what law is involved here, someone in line behind us volunteered that this was related to Oregon Senate Bill 583, the Oregon Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act. If this is the case, it seems to me that the clinic policies should say so. And anyway, I've skimmed over the bill and cannot find a direct reference to a requirement of a policy as implemented by this clinic.

Oddly enough, they didn't ask to actually see (as opposed to copy/scan) Lisa's ID, which we freely offered. It probably would have caused them yet more heartburn, because she wasn't carrying her Oregon driver's license -- I was driving -- but would have produced her US Passport. Instead, they sent us to the waiting area.

I fully expected that an Administrator would come out and eventually tell us, in effect, "Cough up your ID or we deny service," and I was a wreck anticipating it. But it never happened. After a while, the audiologist came and took Lisa for the hearing test, and after that, they took us the other waiting area, and after not too much time, we got to see the doctor.

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We'd borrowed Lisa's father's car because I'm incompetent and can't drive a stick-shift. Our first stop when getting home was the trailer, where we needed to unload the bottle of propane we'd had refilled after the doctor visit. As I got out of the driver's side, I reached behind me, and my wedding ring flew off my finger, landing somewhere in the car with a loud *TING* that even Lisa could hear. It took us fifteen minutes hunting around the floorboards, under seats, in various cubbyholes in the car before Lisa saw that somehow it had landed on the dashboard on the passenger side. That ring -- it's made of titanium -- is really lightweight, and the spacer I sometimes wear to keep it on my hand had fallen off again. Fortunately, there was no harm done in the end.

Lisa is trying to get some rest, to the extent that her ear will let her.
Kevin and Lisa

Insult to Injury

We just noticed that the pharmacy substituted a generic version of one of the medications prescribed by the doctor. The generic (unlike the name brand) is yellow colored, which probably means it includes Yellow Dye to which Lisa is allergic. We hadn't brought it with the pharmacist because the doctor had looked up the medication in the PDR and said the pills are white or blue. Our mistake was not opening the bottles while at the pharmacy. Now we have to go back tomorrow and see if they can do something about it.