Sunday, September 28, 2008

Alaska Air

I am getting considerable traffic, and I know that lots and lots of people are reading this blog.

I've been asked repeatedly about why "someone" from the hospital has not spoken out. We have, in this country, a law called HIPAA. This stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act. (Correction: This stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.) I deal with HIPAA every day and, while I believe it was well-intentioned, it has compliance issues that are staggering.

Violating HIPAA carries criminal penalties. Revealing any confidential health information at all can carry a fine of up to $50,000 and one year in jail. Even, for example, a nurse coming forward and saying, "No one was in the room when Sarah Palin gave birth except for one doctor." would be a violation. (Note this is an EXAMPLE. No one has stated this! Please be clear on this point.) The bottom line is that it is against the law for anyone at the hospital to talk about this matter, and that includes everyone from the janitor to the billing clerks to nurses. And the problem is that not only revealing the information is against the law, possessing it is as well. Let's say that someone would send me anonymously a medical file. I would destroy it immediately, because just my possessing it could send ME to jail for a year! This is serious, and unfortunately because of the laws, not a path we can pursue.

However, we have some first hand witnesses that could shed some light on the situation who are not bound by HIPAA, and these are the flight attendants who saw Gov. Palin on flights from Texas to Anchorage on the night of April 17th. Although we have Alaksa Air's official statement - that the "stage of her pregnancy was not obvious" and that she did not appear to be in "distress" - I suspect that the actual flight attendants might have a bit more to offer.

So... this is a plea. Surely, someone reading this blog, has a friend who used to date a girl whose roommate's sister is a flight attendant for Alaska Air... or something. I hope that one of these attendants will be willing to come forward and just give a factual first-hand account of what happened on one of those two LONG flights. My email address is



Micky-T said...

I came here through Morgan and I must say I really appreciate what your doing with this blog and your main site. We are so many fools, in their eyes.

Anonymous said...

This is not the most important point, but if you really deal with HIPAA every day, you ought to know what it stands for, Accountability not Accounting.

Audrey said...

You are exactly correct. Don't know what I was thinking of. Just a typo. I will correct the post.

Anonymous said...

Also any flight attendants on her flights from Alaska to Texas a few days prior may have additional info.

Anonymous said...

Would asking a nurse or someone in attendance this question,"Did Sarah Palin physically give birth to Trig Palin?" be a violation of HIPAA? Because if she did not give birth to Trig, Sarah is not the patient here.

Anonymous said...

what about finding visitors in the hospital? They aren't bound by HIPPA.

See if any of them can be found - and if they remember Sarah Palin being in labor or just pacing the halls like a grandmother-to-be.

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HyperInfluential said...

HIPAA only applies to private parties seeking information, not the police, and in a case of child abuse, such as failure to secure necessary medical care for an infant, the nurses should be required to report it.

If anyone ever does receive such a file, they should forward it to every police organization they can find, no matter whether the file says she endangered an infant, or whether it says she defrauded the State of Alaska by giving false information on a birth certificate.

Either way, it's not against HIPAA to send the file to the police as an anonymous tip, but send it to many different police types because you never know which ones are on the take, and we can't just sit around and wait for them to decide to investigate on their own. I bet a lot of cops would be interested if they knew the whole story.