Letters to the Editor
I would like to express my concern over the recent matters which have come up concerning the CMC Hospital and the alleged breach of patient privacy between a physician and his wife.
First of all, I have to say that my family; my great-grandparents, grandparents, several uncles, aunts and cousins, my children, my spouse and I, have all been very happy with the care we have received from the staff at Coulee Medical Center (CMC); mainly, from Drs. Andrew Castrodale, Jacob Chaffee and Wendy Hughes. Dr. Castrodale delivered both of my beautiful, healthy daughters. He is compassionate, knowledgeable and has a bedside manner is unparalleled. I have trusted CMC with my family's care for over 13 years now.
Earlier this month, I received a letter from the CMC hospital administrator detailing allegations that a physician had shared general information with his wife about his patients implying that a HIPAA violation occurred. In truth, however, no personally identifiable information about patients was disclosed, only general information about the number of patients seen to help in reviewing and organizing his extremely busy schedule.
I am in the business of caring, as well; I currently serve as president of the Board of Commissioners for a neighboring public hospital district and I am a special education para-educator. I am familiar with HIPAA laws and was appalled that the administrator of CMC would openly write such an accusatory letter, attempting to publicly embarrass and/or discredit one of his own physicians.
I continued to watch as there were paid advertisements published in local newspapers and gossip spread through the local communities over the following weeks. The administrator’s cavalier actions have effectively diminished the reputation and integrity of CMC and its physicians without cause. Clearly, there were a number of other ways to handle the administrator’s concern prudently, professionally and with discretion appropriate for this situation and that is due the leading physicians in our communities.
I am writing this letter to show my support for the physicians and care staff at CMC. If this hospital were to lose any one of the three doctors mentioned above, it would be catastrophic to our communities and could trigger a highly negative domino-effect among the CMC staff. My family, along with numerous other families I have spoken with, would be forced to seek medical care elsewhere. Administrators come and go; this position is minimal in the large scope of things. But Drs. Castrodale, Chaffee, Hughes and the rest of the care staff are constant. They are the faces, hands and hearts of our beloved CMC hospital. They are who matters the very most. My hope is that the board does the right thing and resolves this problem in a timely manner before more harm is done.
Jennifer C. Schwartz