Yet another disaster of for-profit health care: hiding not just the ravages of inadequate public health and covid, but also, generally, negligence and profiteering.
“In April, when the first surge of the pandemic decimated New York City, a nurse at Lincoln Hospital shared video footage of herself and other staff describing the difficulty of treating Covid-19 patients without adequate protective gear or lifesaving supplies. The video was published by The Intercept, and shortly afterward, the nurse, Lillian Udel, was informed by the hospital that she was being investigated for HIPAA violations. That prompted another nurse at the hospital, Kelley Cabrera, to speak out. ‘HIPAA is kind of being used to gag people,‘ she told The Intercept’s Akela Lacy. ‘We’re all experiencing the most difficult working conditions we’ve ever faced. And everybody who is speaking out is doing so to advocate for patients, ultimately. It looks like hospital administrations tend to run to HIPAA for their protection, not so much patient protection.’
“May, the psychiatry resident, noted how some hospitals, even in a pandemic, are reluctant to show what happens behind their doors.
”’Hospitals, as businesses, as profit-driven entities, do not want to be associated with death and suffering — it is very off-brand for them, I think,’ said May. ‘So emerges an unfortunate dovetailing of HIPAA as a safeguard for civil rights and HIPAA as a vehicle for hiding off-brand aspects of medicine. … As a psychiatrist, I find myself thinking about shame and what role institutional shame has to play in the hiding of death and suffering.’“
Twisting laws to favor corporate interests has the same effect as always: a free pass from both shame and crucial accountability.