HIPAA for Animals
I went to the vet yesterday to get Sedona’s “bitch” pills. She is on some medication to chill her out so she won’t eat Sofi.
(Sedona weighs 75 lbs. Sofi weighs 5 lbs.)
We call them her bitch pills not because of her gender, but because of her behavior and because there is a long complicated name we never can remember. Yes, they stain her teeth, and that is a before picture!
Whilst standing at the counter, the dude was helping another animal lover. It had been three years since she had been to the vet (sheesh, if we don’t show up for three months, they call to make sure we haven’t died.)
She needed to bring her paperwork up to date including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
It’s like HIPPA for dogs.
Privacy for animals? Privacy for animal records? Genius!
The privacy act is intended to cover the entire private sector. With very few exceptions, the privacy act applies to anyone who carries on “commercial activities”.
The privacy act applies to any collection, use or disclosure of personal information. “Personal information” means any information about an identifiable individual that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, colour, ethnic background, education, family status), their health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities and views (e.g., dealings with the veterinarian, opinions expressed by an individual, religion, political involvement, a veterinarian’s view or evaluation of an individual).
Yes, what you say and do to (and with) your veterinarian is protected by law.
You have the right to remain silent.
While this is all well and good, what about rescues who do vet checks to protect an animal to be adopted? What about rescues or shelters that need the animal’s previous vet records to properly treat the animal and up date it’s medical status? We can talk, dogs can’t and this could actually make things harder than it already is on animals in a homeless limbo. It is obvious that had they just gotten shots they should not be repeated but if we can’t even ask a vet – should that be risked? But wait, by law animals have to have certain shots to be adopted out. How does this law actually help? What could you be doing with your dog that is so private you need a HIPPA like law to cover your behind?