Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Strong privacy law, weak treatment law

Very strong privacy laws and very weak mental health treatment laws are keeping Lindsey Rice from saving her mother.

Lindsey Rice said she couldn't get her mother committed to the state hospital or get foster care, and meanwhile voices were telling her mother to pull her own teeth. Amid all that grief, the daughter said, it didn't help that her mother would be in and out of hospitals in Southern Oregon, and the family couldn't keep track of her because medical personnel were trying to follow HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Once, Rice said, her mother walked out of a hospital without getting a proper discharge, but, because of the privacy law, the hospital didn't call Lindsey. Later, she said, the police found Rachel and brought her home. ''She was just being released into a world of paranoia, and it wasn't good,'' Rice said.

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