I got a call from Marie shortly after speaking with Ida Alvis. I assume it was Marie Garcia, the Admissions / Marketing Director at Woodland Terrace. (I’m not going to list the phone number here because, since I could swear I heard children playing in the background, I am almost certain she was calling me from her home telephone.)
Marie told me that Ida and Nurse Paula were correct: My name was not associated with my mother’s chart in any way, so nobody should be divulging any information to me because that is forbidden by HIPAA regulations.
I tried to explain to Marie that, no, we did not have Power of Attorney because by the time we realized we needed to get it, my mom was no longer competent to grant it so it would not have been legally binding. But in the absence of “POA” I — as the oldest direct descendent of the patient in question — was the one legally responsible for her care. Marie seemed to feel that this made logical sense but that because of HIPAA her hands were tied. I tried to explain to her that this was not the case, and that she should trust in logic, but she refused and simply told me I needed to contact “someone” at Halifax Hospital who could provide evidence to Woodland Terrace that I was authorized to receive information about my mother.
I told Marie that I had no physical documentation beyond a ridiculous “Guardian Advocate” wall hanging that looked like it came from a fourth-grader’s coloring book that someone at Halifax sent me after I completed an absurd twenty-question test which proved nothing except that I could read. She said that I should fax that to them at (386) 738-7420.
She also said I could email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then she quickly said that wasn’t the right email address; it was really email@example.com. Then she corrected herself again and said that her email address was actually firstname.lastname@example.org. (Since I later learned that the actual domain name of Woodland Terrace is terracedeland.com, I’m not very confident in the legitimacy of any of those email addresses.)
I realized that Marie wasn’t going to budge on letting me discuss my mom’s medication with anyone that afternoon, so I just got off the phone with her and resolved to try calling again later in the afternoon.
(Again, because I was so flustered, I failed to note that they were fine with giving me all sorts of information until I started questioning the information I was being given.)