Hungry, Hungry HIPAA.

Okay, so, for those of you that don't know, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - 1996) has this pesky little privacy rule that says doctors and the like can't print up your personal medical files and give them out on streetcorners. They have to take many fairly common sense precautions to protect you and your privacy. Most folks think it's a good thing, especially in the age of identity theft.

As a Processor* (all names and titles here are changed) for Insurance Handling Company, you wouldn't believe the information I have access to. I can tell you all the particulars of a man's family, where he lives, where he works, his file history, date of birth, his Social Security number, how much money he makes--I could tell you. But I won't. Privacy laws, see?

But I do have all this information--and do you know what particularly sensitive task I've been charged to carry out with it?

I must order Robert Robertson a new dental ID card.

Now--I'm not updating his information. I'm not altering his record, or asking them to send the dental cards to me. I just want them to send new ID cards to his house. They've got his address on file. I mean--that's it.

Simple request, right?

Ring, ring.

RECEPTIONIST: Ignorant Fucking Carrier, we know nothing!

ME: Hi, this is Liz from Handling Company, I'm calling on behalf of 'Company We Represent'--they need to order new ID cards for one of their employees.

RECEPTIONIST: No problem, how about I transfer you to the worst account manager we've ever hired?

ME: Sure, thanks.

MUZAK: *Plays*

HIPPO: Good afternoon, this is *Sudden Phone Garble, drop in volume*--help you?

Me: Hi, this is Liz from Handling Company, I'm calling to see if any employee of (Company We Represent) could get some ID cards sent to him. Do you want his social?

HIPPO (suspiciously): ...Ma'am, who are you with?

Me: I'm from Handling Company. I'm calling on behalf of the 'Company We Represent'. (That's what we do here. They, like, pay us for it and everything.) An employee named Robert Robertson. Would you like his social or his date of birth?

HIPPO: Okay, ma'am, I'm going to need your broker identification number.

ME: Oh, I'm not the broker; I'm a (mighty) Processor with the broker's office. I don't need any information changed or verified--he just needs new ID cards sent to his home. Employee Rober--

HIPPO: No, we can't do that.

ME: ...Sorry?

HIPPO: I'm going to need some verification that you have the right to access this employee's information. Now, if you have the broker ID or you want to get the employee to call in--

ME: ...Wait, wait--no. See--I have his information. I don't need his information. I just need to order him a new ID card.

HIPPO: Ma'am, we can't do that. Because of HIPAA.


HIPPO: Privacy laws, ma'am, we can't give out information to--

ME: No, wait--I don't need or want access to his information. I just need you to send him out a new ID card.

HIPPO: Without some sort of assurance that you are an authorized representative--

ME: Could I have a fax number, then, and fax you in a request on our official letterhead? I can put the company name, the employee, and the employee's social security number on it, and then could you confirm--

HIPPO: I'm sorry, ma'am, I don't have access to that number at the moment.

ME: ....

HIPPO: What I'd recommend you do is get the employee to call in and have him order his own ID cards.

At this point, I wonder if she's even hearing me.

ME: His company pays my company to do it for him. That's... what they pay us to do. He asked us to order his ID cards for him. I have all his information. He's given it to us. I probably have more information about him than he does. I can verify anything you w--

HIPPO: Ma'am, we can't do that. HIPAA privacy laws make it s--

ME: It's an ID card. I just need an ID card sent to the address you have on file. Not to us. How would it be a violation of his privacy to--

I'm getting snippy. I'll cop to it. ID cards are a simple request that Massive Carriers 1, 2, and 3 have no problems processing. I've had it done many times. Even Itty Bitty carrier doesn't have issues with it. Ignorant Fuck carrier might just be a little slow. I pause for a breath.

HIPPO: I'd recommend you get the employee to call Customer Service and request that he be sent new ID cards.

ME: But if I have ALL HIS INFORMATION, and could tell Customer Service exactly what they're going to ask him to process his ID card request, why can I not give that same information to you--

HIPPO: Because of HIPAA, ma'am. Now, is there something else I could assist you with today?

ME: If I don't have the authority to access any information on any account, no matter who I am or what information I have, then how could you help me?

HIPPO: Thank you for calling. *Hangs up.*

...The Real Kicker?

I call back. Get new account manager. ID cards in seven to ten business days.

Life... slightly better.

I'm supposed to hire you as a career advisor?

Yeah, so I'm fond of updating my various blogs. One of them is on a career site - it's about job searching, interviewing, etc. A career coach/recruiter has commented on a couple of my posts with a mixture of condescending and incomprehensible advice. Would you hire this woman as a career consultant?

"You're saying and outcome match. Those precious pieces that talked about the you who want's to be in productions simply are not the right projection for an administrative position."

Yeah. I'll stick with Monster's advice. Pedal your ebook elsewhere. It's probably written in another language anyhow.

A Sucktacular Day in North Georgia...

The Scene: Post office, just after what should've been the lunch rush proper--except everyone else had the idea that they'd be fashionably late, too, and the line was out the front door. So I was there for a while. Make jokes if you will, but Postal workers? They deal with so much suck.

During my trip through the line, I heard one man drone on and on about his 40-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, and all about how the drug lobby works in America--because he 'knows the truth.' And guess what? He also knew it just loud enough for everyone in the place to hear every word he said.

One woman went in, saw the line, gasped, 'Oh my God,' left, came back, gasped again, left, came back, cut the line, and waved a twenty in the nice lady postal clerk's face. 'I just need change for the machine!' Postal lady calmly finished her current transaction, despite the huffing from stage left, then made change silently. The grim set of her jaw was a thing of beauty. Huffy lady even squeaked a 'thank you.'

Then there was that one lady. Everyone else in line saw it coming--the tension was palpable as she approached the male postal clerk--with her package in a box marked 'Ginley's Gin.' On all four sides. In bold advertising logos. A gin box.


Postal guy told her no. He let her work herself into a lather while he gave her the most blank, brutal stare I've ever seen. Then he reached under the counter and produced... a comparable-sized box. Beat up, and obviously used, but he told her it was 'no charge.'

'Well, who's going to repack it for me?' she whined.

He stared. 'Tell you what, ma'am: You take care of that part, and I'll tape it for you free,' he said, turned away, and droned, 'Next.'

I cannot imagine how they deal with this every day. My post office rules.

Oh, one for the road:

Later, at Schlotsky's, we heard the cashier snap, 'That's actually not a penny jar, sir!'

Asshat customer took his hand out of the tip jar--most because tables were staring, I think.

(no subject)

Gay Cowboys are lots of fun.

...Actually, they're sad, too. I cried buckets today. Damn.

How much do I love the AMC in Kennesaw? Thank you, theater, for being so monstrously big, you almost have to carry every slightly-more-than art-housey release.

*Loves Brokeback Mountain madly*

So, maybe I should change my LJ username.

I'm not a Quality Analyst anymore. :) But I am, however, a very quality gal, so maybe I'll keep it.

Ah, permanent job hunt... These temp assignments don't cut it.

Wrote another prologue today. A novel doesn't need six of them. I've got to bite the bullet and really start. So far I have bits and pieces.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, all.

(Hey, Amber, if you're reading this, your stuff is going in the mail... :) Tomorrow, I think. I suck at correspondance.)

Seen at the Country Inn & Suites in Dalton, Georgia...

A man at the front desk. Looked to be at least fifteen years older than the sweet little front desk clerk. While she was busy trying to get the person in front of him checked in (my sister), he calmly slid the front desk bell over. Ding! Five seconds later. Ding! Another five. Ding! Ding! Another ten. We think he's stopped. Ding!

Clerk: (as if the bell is driving nails into her skull, but smiling) I'll be with you in just one minute, sir.
Sir: (leer) You take your time, darlin'. I'm just over here playin'.


Sir, what are you playing? Are you part of that mysterious and rare subgenre of the music scene, the one man hotel bell band? Leave the thing alone, before she pelts you with free cookies. Gah!

And God Said to Noah...

We need a really big boat.

A friendly message to our Quality Systems Engineer:

Look, you're a smart guy. You've gone to a couple of great schools, and I'm sure they pay you bunches for it.

Now... yeah, I'm a fuck-up too, granted, but how do you flood a room about half the size of an Olympic pool? While you're in the room? The mixing room, no less. Yes, you've heard of it, the room in which we mix. The room in which we were currently mixing. The room where we had two open mixing vessels right there for your water-spraying, contaminating pleasure? Ring bells?

Yeah, you gotta flush the purified water lines to take accurate samples. Yes, I realize this. But you know what? It's not a fucking joke that your little ill-fated excursion into 'reality' (instead of that wonderful numbers-on-paper world you live in, fuckwad) has ended with a huge mess. It's not cool that you 'couldn't find a hose,' so you thought you'd just flush the lines right onto the floor, flooding the place. It's not funny that I may get in trouble again for your bullshit. And you know what else?

You're going to clean it. Yes, you, in your little Duckheads and smart loafers. You. Grab the squeegee. You're going to take the mess you made and put it in that drain where it belongs. No, you cannot draft the production staff to clean it for you.

...Oh, you did anyway?

I've drafted memos. I have nothing to lose at this point. I was willing and able to cover all our asses up until the point you laughed at me and commandeered staff. You're a spoiled little shithead whose Mommy obviously wiped his ass until you got married, and now your wife gets to do it.

I am Vengeance. Not the cool kind, with flaming swords and whatnot, but the kind of 'KHAANNNN!!!' type vengeance that will smile sweetly and knife you in the guts so quickly you'll wonder why you're spitting blood before you even see the wound.

...Yeah, that was a bit graphic, but still. I am so angry.

(no subject)

Saw this in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Check out this piece of work.

Am I crazy, or... oh, no, wait. This woman is. (And then she got a reporter friend to put her in the paper! She's kewl!) Look, I'm not a big Wal-Mart fan or anything--I'm willing to answer the call for a legitimate grievance, but this is stupid. She didn't even buy the merchandise.

Entitlement whore.

Dear Bossman,

I'm leaving. Hooray! I can't wait. However, since my departure will leave a hole in the company equivalent to, say, a shotgun blast at point blank range and we're already in a 'dire' situation, I said I'd stay a while.

That means I'll give you a couple of weeks so that you can find a replacement.

Find a replacement. Please. I know you haven't started looking. You're like my third boyfriend, who thought 'this isn't working out' meant 'I love you, marry me, I'll stay forever.'

Moving me to another desk to make room for a colleague who is not my replacement isn't the way to convince me to keep on keepin' on. Demanding I come in on my days off isn't the way to do it, either.

Tuck your hand in your coat, Napoleon.

(no subject)

There is nothing quite so sinful, so decadent, so fucking wonderful as turning in a resignation and saying coolly to your bossman, 'No thanks, I'd rather just go.'