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Methadone Clinic Privacy

Updated on January 23, 2010

Keep Your Medical Information Private

 If you've been to in a group setting for substance abuse counseling, you know that gossip is rampant.  The clients, the therapists, even the doctors talk about who has what problem, even such sensitive information as STD's and paternity.  How do you keep your information private?

1.  Be clear about your rights.  People who seek drug treatment are often at the lower end of their average self-esteem range and often feel that they do not deserve respect, not until they kick the habit.  This is not true.  Do not allow treatment professionals to treat you in a disrespectful way.  It creates a bad treatment environment.  Officials promised you privacy and they owe it to you.  You are paying them.  They work for you.

2.  Rebuff nonprofessionals who ask for medical information.  If the secretary asks what's wrong with you in the lobby and you feel uncomfortable, tell her that you will not dispense your medical information to her in the lobby as this is innappropriate.  Let her know you will only dispense medical information in the proper setting to the proper people.

3.  See the doctor.  If your doctor does not have time to see you and shifts responsibility to others, your medical information has probably not even reached the doctor in full.  It's time to get a new doctor.

What do you do when your privacy has been breached?  Let treatment professionals know about the breach and insist that they fix it.  Do not be rude or overbearing.  Most of the time, staff will quickly clean up because they know their job is on the line if they contributed to spreading rumors or gossiping.  Simply informing a supervisor should be sufficient.

if this does not work, you may report the business to consumer groups, and in cases where much harm has been done, you can and should sue.  Your medical information getting out can wreck a career or even an entire life so if yours gets out and you sue, you are doing yourself and all of us a favor by making sure medical professionals are very careful with your medical information.


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