It is very well known that Massachussetts is one of if not the most corrupt goverment when it comes to mental health. It makes hair on my arms stand up to even write about it because what they do to individuals who have a mental health condition or a substance abuse problem, goes far beyond anything I could ever fathom.
Massachussetts like almost every state has a involuntary committment law called Section 12 for individuals with mental health issues and Section 35 for individuals with Substance abuse problems. The problem is that these laws are abused and I don’t use that term lightly.
I had a doctor in Massachussetts who is supposed to be highly respected, but is more feared as I was told and disliked. The way that the psychiatrist used Section 12 was instead of dealing with their patients, they would section them to a hospital, especially if it was after 5pm. Now when a psychiatrist is charging 550.00 an hour you expect them to listen when you have a problem, not abuse the system or traumatize you and send you to an ER by way of Section 12 and sit there to rot.
Here is the issue once your at the ER it is no longer the psychiatrist who sent you there’s responsibility to evaluate you again. It must be an independent evaluation. Well so the law says, but it’s not when you have a doctor who influences the decision of another psychiatrist. I’m a great advocate, I know who to call, what agencies to get involved etc.. So what the ER does is hold you illegally in the ER for close to 72 hours while the agencies are “conducting” an investigation, your not a threat to yourself or anyone else and let you go at the 60th hour when I am assuming they’ve gotten enough phone calls. That’s torture, sitting in a little ER room, you can not move from the bed accept to go to the bathroom for 60 hours.
I have watched while ER patients who are really actually depressed cut their wrists, because no one is watching them and they have access to sharp objects. The nurses go into the patients room and quietly take away the object, then bandage up the patients wounds and leave the patient sitting by themselves again unsupervised. I was bewildered and beside myself.
The ER’s don’t know what the meaning of HIPAA is and if they do, they do not care about your rights regarding them. They will stick you in a hall and ask you personal questions and when you raise HIPAA violations, they tell you there is no where else to speak with you.
You have rights as a patient whether medical or psychiatric when it comes to HIPAA or patient rights. You want to know them.
In my next blog I will outline what your HIPAA rights are whereever you go unless and it is I believe very rare that a state will have less stringent laws regarding HIPAA than federal HIPAA laws protecting you. You must consult a attorney regarding this.