The medical record affair - a conflict episode

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story of a person who thinks she could get away with violating ethics.

Submitted: March 04, 2009

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Submitted: March 04, 2009

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I have lived in Pierce City for one year now. Yes definitely, it is more conservative than Eugene and Portland, but I would describe Pierce City as moderate with many liberals and progressives as well conservatives. Not many ultra-conservatives like the Southern U.S. or Midwest. I would say that the suburbs east of Portland and Springfield (adjacent to Eugene) are more conservative than Pierce City. As in the rest of State, a Libertarian attitude also exists.
The parks in Pierce City are beautiful with easy access to vineyards and agriculture. Portland is typically 40 - 60 minutes away depending how one drives. The Ocean is one hour away. The coastal mountain range is less than 30 minutes away. The lower elevation Cascades are less than 1 hour away. Skiing is about 90-120 minutes away. The high dessert is a little over 2 hours away. You can see the views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson throughout the city. The beautiful parks are a really great place for families. The southern and western parts are hilly, while the north side and Keizer are rather flat. Compared to Portland and Eugene, there is less music and art happening here. As of this writing, the real estate market is in pretty bad shape as to the rest of the country.
The City of Pierce City is experiencing a serious methamphetamine (meth) epidemic with an estimated 8,000-9,000 meth addicts in the city. This situation did not arise overnight rather it has been steadily growing for the past fifteen years. Methamphetamine addiction and along with H.I.V. and Aids related deaths have become a fact of life for devastated inner city communities, and more recently working class suburbs from West and South Pierce City. Pierce City has one hospital and nine correctional facilities these facilities house all the prisoners who have broken the law.
About the friendship:
Morgan and Janet were true friends; Morgan is a true best friend. She always supports Janet in everything she wanted do. When Janet wanted to go up North, she said she thought it would be a great experience and that it would help her develop her sense of adventure. Morgan is not only a great supporter, she also trusts Janet to give her honest opinion and to say what she feels. When she was upset with Janet one time, she asked what she thought about it and she said she should wait and then she would find out the real reason why Janet was mad at her. And it happened that way. She knew she could not trust Janet after she realized that Janet was lying to her.
Janet and Morgan work at the Medical Center in Pierce City, State, the facility is a rather large tertiary hospital with a minimum of 350 licensed beds and a total of 700 plus employees. The plot started in Janet’s office in the medical record department, Janet’s office is located on the right corner of the department, next to the coding manager’s office, her office is the largest office in the department with a large bay window, and the burgundy carpet compliments her mahogany desk and chair. Janet’s office has a four chair conference mahogany table. Against the purple wall, hangs an oil on canvas mother and child painting from 1973 with the inscription of an artist named John P. and a green foliage hangs from the ceiling,
This is how it happened, after reading this story you will not believe how some people do not actually think before they act. On a Friday afternoon while I was at work a colleague of mine Janet, asked me to go out shopping with her. I told Janet, I would stop by her office around 4:00 pm to pick her up. On the way to her office, I ran into Carol from the Medical Record Department, I asked Carol if she was going to the billing office, because I was heading that way as well. Carol told me she was taking a chart to Janet’s office. I told Carol that I was on my way to Janet’s office I would be more than happy to give her the chart. Carol agreed to give me the chart. When I entered Janet’s office she took the chart from me and she asked her assistant to copy the chart for her. After the chart was copied, Janet put the copy in her briefcase. I became suspicious all of the sudden. I reminded Janet’s of the hospital’s policy about not taking patients records outside of the hospital.
Janet told me that, she needed the chart to give to her sister to check up on this patient. The whole conversation went like this: Janet who does this chart belongs to? The chart belongs to this guy name tony, he is someone my sister met about 1 week ago; she wants to make sure he does not have a sexually transmitted disease or anything fatal.Janet, are you trying to tell me that you are going to violate this patient’s confidentiality by giving his chart to your sister? hell yeah, I do not want my sister to get some disease from him. Janet, it does not matter if she is your sister or not, your sister does not have rights to this man’s medical record, if she suspicious about his health, she needs to ask him for a copy of his health records. She does not want him to know that she is checking up on him. You know what; you have no right to violate his rights. So what are you saying, I cannot protect my sister? What if she was your sister? Yes, I am saying you have no right to share this man’s medical record with your sister, and she was my sister, she would have never asked me to compromise my job, my integrity, the hospital’s reputation for her own good. Whatever!!, I am taking it, are you ready to go shopping, let’s go. Janet, let me warn you, if you take this chart out of the office, I will report you to the compliance officer and you will lose your job. Janet decided to take the chart out of the office; I decided not to go shopping with her that day. I went to the medical record department and asked Carol for the patient’s information of the chart she had given to Janet earlier.
If you think appearances are deceiving, wait until you read this:
Picture yourself in the busiest hallway. Now, picture a 43 year old petite Asian woman walking towards you at top speed frantically yelling out your name. She instantly slides to a stop in front of you and so casually asks, "how are you” and slowly strolls away. This insanely energetic woman has the down-to-earth name Janet, and was once one of my best friends. Now imagine this event happening to you at least once a week, never when you are expecting it; yes, her mousy dark-brown long hair is always crawling out in a different direction. She always seems like a caring smile with bright eyes and is always impeccably dressed. A contagious perfect smile that gives me the feeling that she is a friend, something that will undeniably bring us both to an ethics investigation. Janet is the kind of person that gets these crazy and fun ideas, like going shopping in the middle of the day.
At first sight and first friendship, it would seem impossible to believe this woman could be anything but hilariously funny, incredibly loving, smart, and someone you could trust to the grave. It was hard to believe that so many negative feelings are building in her and that she keeps them locked away. It is hard to believe that she would be the kind of unethical person she turned out to be. Appearances are deceiving. It takes years to gain her trust and she desperately fears disapproval; she has let down so many people in her life, in the course of time I have known her. She feels comfortable telling me about her family life, while the entire story was a lie. She mentioned that she was related to Imelda Marcos of the Philippines, when in fact it was not true. She made me feel extremely bad when she told me she had breast cancer, when in fact, she made the story up. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment, and hers, when she had to tell me that she was Janet Nunez when in fact she stole her name from one of her co-workers. This "Girl Interrupted" truly tried to get people feeling pity for her.
Indeed, this one-of-a-kind lady, Janet, has got what seems to be the perfect life going for her. She has one of the craziest and outgoing personalities that would make anyone jealous. However, if you dig just beyond the surface, you will find a whole different story. All of her problems throughout life have seemed to just lump into one gigantic problem, which has sent her to identity theft and making up stories. I know that the barrier she has between herself and others will never be let down for help, so I hope everyday that she will find it in herself to forgive what needs to be forgiven and solve whatever problems and finds a solution. It is this that leads me to truly believe that appearances are deceiving.
Morgan can be a barrel of fun when she is in the mood. I really like when she does silly things. One night, we rented three movies and watched all three while we ate popcorn, cheese and crackers, and a whole box of chocolates. We gabbed about everything and even imagined what it would be like to live like some of the characters in the movies.
Morgan is a woman of integrity, and a stickler for policy and ethics, she takes pride in her work, and she respects patients’ privacy. She works hard to maintain the reputation of the company she works for. Morgan carries herself very professionally in the way she dresses, her make-up is kept to a minimum, her nails is cut down and very clean, her shoes are neat and her hair is always kept neat and clean. Morgan’s jewelry is in great taste. Morgan shows up on time to meetings and she responds and meets deadlines timely. Morgan had to work hard to get to where she is at in the career; she takes pride in her job. She is well liked and respected by her peers, her sisters idolizes her, her nieces and nephews depend on her for advice, her brother cannot stand her because she refuses to accept the way he treats women.
Although Morgan and Janet were friends, Morgan felt she had an ethical duty to report Janet to the hospital’s ethics committee for violating the facility’s HIPAA rules. Janet was called in-front of the ethics committee for an interview. Janet was informed that after the investigation, her employment would probably be most likely be terminated.
The day before the ethics committee meeting, Janet got in her 2000 white C-Class Mercedes Benz, the one she has been letting people think is an actual later model. She headed south on Interstate 5, she was not sure where she wanted to go to clear her head, after all tomorrow was a big day for her. Tomorrow was the meeting with the ethics committee; the results could mean the end of Janet’s career with the hospital. After driving 27 miles, Janet was feeling hungry; she noticed a sign on the highway at mile marker 28 stating “Granma – Pauline Authentic Cuisine” 1 mile ahead. The restaurant is a lunch place catering to business folks... and the menu is basically sandwiches, salads and cheesecake... most prominent are a variety of chicken salads:
The sitting area of Granma Pauline restaurant was about 1100 square feet with a seating capacity of two hundred. Janet was greeted by a middle aged waitress and was seated in the smoking section of the restaurant. Granma Pauline Restaurant was the type of place where one can find many old pieces of arts which one can describe as art in the sense of a child's drawing or a Picasso canvas? On the entrance far left corner wall adjacent to the cash register was a copy cat copy of the Leonardo Da Vinci “The Last Supper” represents the scene of The Last Supper from the final days of Jesus as narrated in the Gospel of John 1:21, when Jesus announces that one of his twelve disciples would betray him. The painting is one of the best known and valued in the world; unlike many other valuable paintings, however, it has never been privately owned because it cannot be moved easily, that is of course, I am referring to the original painting, not the copy cat at Granma Pauline Restaurant. I would say that this piece of art is created if I am saying or painting something that has never been said or painted before.
If I am seeing it in a way that no one else has viewed and the origin of it is spiritual, it can be created. Of course with painting, the materials would cause some debate for creation, but the idea of the painting is created. I would also say that art is a manifestation of a vision or thought within a person. It is an idea that has had a need to be birthed into the world. It doesn't have to be beautiful, just unique, visually interesting (or surprising/pleasing to the other senses)
The Ethics Committee Interviews:
I was scheduled to meet with the Ethics Committee on Friday; I entered the room 5 minutes before the scheduled time with a manila folder in my hand containing all the evidence of the case I filed against Janet for violating the hospital HIPAA policy. I realized that everyone I had requested to meet with were in attendance. Renee Sholanka, Markel Borrows, John Castilla, David Borrows, Belinda Jones aka Dollie Parton. Belinda Jones was given the name of Dollie Parton by one of her staff members at the hospital because of her overly huge chest, last but not least Doctor Goodwin Philantropin aka doctor ‘phil good’ was also at the table. As I was sitting down, I acknowledged everyone at the table with a simple hello.
I proceeded to describe the events as it happened. I explained that I informed Janet that I will file a grievance against her with the Ethics Committee for violating the hospital policy. I knew for a fact that taking patients records home, does not fall under her scope of duty. I also told Janet that her behavior was unethical and it could get the hospital in trouble with the patient and the government. When I realized that Janet disregarded my comments and my statement, I decided to do what was right to protect the hospital and the patient. Although Janet and I are friends, I did not find her behavior to be acceptable.
Janet is scheduled to appear in front of the Ethics Committee on Monday. I can only imagine how she will tell her story, how will she try to lie her way out of it. She probably rehearsed her story the night before or while she was eating at Granma Pauline’s Restaurant. as she enters the room, Janet was wearing her 3 ½ inch black high heels BCBG shoes, with her dark grey Tahari skirt suit with her fake diamond wedding ring, the ring she always wear to deceive people into thinking she is married when in fact she is not.
Janet enters the room three minutes before the scheduled meeting, to her astonishment, she realized that Renee Sholanka, Markel Borrows, John Castilla, David Borrows, Belinda Jones aka Dollie Parton. Belinda Jones was given the name of Dollie Parton by one of staff members at the hospital because of her overly huge chest, last but not least Doctor Goodwin Philantropin aka doctor ‘phil good’ was also at the table. As Janet sat down after acknowledging everyone at the table with her customized ‘hello everyone, it is so nice to see all of you’. Doctor ‘phil good’ asked Janet to take them to the events of the afternoon of October 17, 2007.
Janet proceeded to explain that Morgan took the entire incident out of context. She stated that she was taking the patient’s medical record home to perform a chart review, because her sister stated that her boyfriend had retained an attorney and he was planning on suing the hospital for malpractice. Renee proceeded to ask Janet if taking patients records home for review falls within her normal scope of practice. Janet responded no, it was not, however; she felt obligated to review this particular chart. 
Janet proceeded to tell the committee about a new policy she had created to review patients’ charts if she was aware that a patient had intentions of taking the hospital to court. The committee asked Janet for a copy of the policy; Janet replied she did not have a copy of the policy. Everyone in the room listened, watched and allowed Janet to dig herself into more holes than she could get out of.
The end:
The ethics committee recommended that Janet’s employment be terminated with the hospital. Janet was asked to leave and to Morgan’s astonishment, Janet blamed her for losing her job. Two friends who lived in State were really close as friends. Morgan lived a comfortable decent life but Janet pretended to be rich and glamorous. This friendship was on its way to destruction, Janet expected Morgan to change her story when she was in-front of the ethics committee, and Morgan was determined to go all the way. During a casual phone conversation, Janet asked Morgan “I do not understand why you are taking up for these people? You don’t even know them” Morgan’s response was “why do we have firefighters, public defenders, police officers, social workers? We have them because someone has to protect the innocents” the reason why you needed to be stopped is because you took away this man’s right to privacy. 
Sometimes we bond with someone who seemingly has our best interests at heart only to find there is an ulterior motive and once it's discovered what it is, then the tie begins to deteriorate rapidly. Many friendships have to come to an end because of one reason or another and the signs begin to show after the novelty of the friendship begins to wear off as we begin to see many things that tell that the friend really wasn't such a good friend after all. If you cannot respect a friend for whatever reason, then you can't love that friend, and to continue will only bring bitterness. You may find that you can't even listen to that person trying to rationalize their behavior to you, when it gets beyond a certain point, then it is time to sever all ties and bring the agony to an end. Let’s just call it a disconnected relationship or a shattered glass.
Janet thought Morgan was a friend, indeed Morgan was a friend who would not compromise her integrity for a friendship and at the same time she wanted to protect people. A truly good friend is one that thinks of you as much as they themselves in that they would never look for the angles that will benefit them in any particular circumstance at your expense, in other words, a user. 
When you discover that over the years your friendship was based on your friends dependency on what you could do for them whereas you constantly are doing favors or solving problems for them even though they are fun to be around, then it's time to test the waters to see just how good a friend he or she really is by not allowing yourself to be used. If there is a sudden change as a result whereas the friend no longer finds you an easy target because he or she knows that you've finally caught on to them, they will begin to show who they really are, and before it gets to the point of resentment, then it's time for the "It's been nice, but we no longer have much in common" farewell.
After the ethics committee decision, Janet realized she needed to apologize to Morgan for her behavior and for putting her in such situation where she had to stop her and reported her unethical behavior, which has caused Janet her job and her friendship with Morgan. It was a momentous event. The day was suitably dreary and a heavy mist had settled on the grass surrounding the church. Janet had called ahead to make sure a priest would be present and had reviewed the sins she had committed and planned to make a general confession. To her surprise, there was no longer a private booth. She sat face-to-face with a priest and began with tears in her eyes, 
Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been 17 years since my last confession." The priest interrupted, "That's okay, and God will forgive you. Just kneel at the altar and say you're sorry." He then gave absolution. Janet was shocked—not even a rosary for penance! It had taken years to realize that she had indeed caused harm and months to summon up the humility to ask for forgiveness. The priest was not prepared to listen. Perhaps it was boredom, or perhaps an act of kindness on his part, but the great release she had hoped for was denied.
Even though she was sorry for hurting and lying to people, there was still the underlying desire to free her of the burden of guilt and shame. Some self-help programs suggest that we share our sins before God and another human being. I remember an older woman who had a slogan ready for every situation. One was, "It's better to cry and share it, than grin and bear it." It does feel better to share grief, anger, and guilt. Nevertheless, true remorse comes from a sense of oneness with all beings. We wish to seek forgiveness not to make ourselves feel better, but to acknowledge that we have caused suffering for another. We are not always able to make amends to everyone. We lose touch, we forget names, or people have died. However, it is possible to acknowledge our remorse.
After confession, Janet began to reflect on her mistakes. She remembers that one's attitude towards life determines one's happiness, anger, sorrow and joy. Past happenings are not exactly like passing clouds and many memories can easily make people regret. These regrets can seriously affect one's quality of life and even cause mental problems. Confucius said in she also remembers "The past can't be corrected but the future can." These famous words say that things in the past cannot be redone, but the future can still be worked on. These words are a very meaningful reminder when we deal with issues or reflect on our accomplishments and mistakes in our lives. People should not always regret or feel depressed for past mistakes, and learning lessons from the mistakes can help avoid repeating them.

In our short lives, we do not need to feel regret when we have made mistakes, because it will not change the reality and only adds negative darkness to our future life, casting shadows on the beauty of life. Just as crying after you fall down is useless, life should not be buried in regret. Getting up, starting again and doing, the best you can are actually the essence of a positive attitude towards life. Although Janet was on the verge of losing her job, she decided to own up to her mistakes; Janet decided to apologize to everyone including the patient whose privacy she had violated. Janet acknowledged her responsibility for her own thoughts and actions and felt regret for causing suffering. The remorse is deep and genuine, because she realized that when we harm others, we harm ourselves.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited."


© Copyright 2018 rchaperon. All rights reserved.

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