Message left on voicemail embarrases bulimia patient

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My psychiatrist’s office called and left a very sensitive voicemail about my bulimia on a message machine shared with other individuals. Our voicemails are sent transcribed to everyone’s email accounts.

Since my complaint (which was an argument during which the nurse who left the private information hung up on me), human resources and the office manager have contacted me to try to alleviate the tension, but I have received no apology from anyone for violating HIPAA or embarrassing me. Should I throw in the towel and find a new doctor or revoke my contact information from their files? I don’t know how to proceed from here. — PERSONAL TO PUBLIC

DEAR PERSONAL: If you provided a shared phone number as your point of contact, you should not have blamed the person who left the message for using it. I see no reason to change doctors, but you should definitely alter your client information so this doesn’t happen in the future.

That said, does your psychiatrist know one of his/ her employees hung up on you? If not, the doctor should be informed, and you should be offered an apology.

(Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.)

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