And now I’m reposting this article that appeared on my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife on December 23, 2018. It’s a follow up to the previous repost– a rant about people who misspell HIPAA and insist that it’s actually spelled HIPPA (wrong). Again, this is mostly as/is, and all info was current as of 2018, not 2023.
Apologies to all. I’m going to continue yesterday’s rant a little bit. I know it’s petty. I know a lot of people don’t care, and are more concerned that we get the “gist” of what people are referring to when they write “HIPPA” instead of “HIPAA”. Frankly, I take a different view. Knowledge is power. I hate to toss around trite sayings, even those created by great authors like the late Dr. Maya Angelou. But she was right when she said this:
I don’t tend to use this quote much myself, mainly because the original wording has become bastardized into something that sounds kind of self-righteous and condescending. Often, people who use this quote say or write something like this:
Another blogger, name of Mom, the Intern, does a much better job ranting about the bastardization of this particular quote than I can at this hour. I recommend checking out her post if I’ve piqued your interest.
The point is, while I don’t generally like telling people to “educate themselves” and don’t want to sound condescending and self-righteous, sometimes I feel compelled to advise other people to “do better”. And that is what happened right after I opened my eyes this morning.
Those of you who read yesterday’s post may remember my admittedly long-winded rant about how many people on the Life is not all pickles and hairspray Facebook page repeatedly misspelled the acronym, HIPAA, as they each declared their expertise about this law. I got to the point at which I felt like I had to be “that person”, and I posted this:
It’s HIPAA, not HIPPA. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Although I knew very well that I was right about the way the acronym is correctly spelled, I did take the time to look it up, just to be sure. It’s embarrassing when you try to correct someone and turn out to be wrong yourself. I have done that before and learned from the experience. When you have Google at your fingertips and a quick Web search takes a matter of seconds, it really pays to double check. I also knew that my comment would annoy some people, so I wanted to be prepared for that. People don’t like it when you correct them.
Not surprisingly, there were others, like me, who had been suffering in silence. At this writing, at least nine people “liked” that I posted the correction. One person even went as far as to thank the first person (not me) who had correctly spelled the acronym, though didn’t call it out that people were getting it wrong.
Also not surprisingly, I got one “who cares” response and another that claimed I was wrong. The “who cares” response came from the page owner. Frankly, I found her attitude disappointing, especially since members of the press follow her page.
Whatever, most of us know what it means. That’s the important thing.
I strongly disagree with this mindset, by the way. There are good reasons for the concepts of “correct” and “incorrect”. Words have meaning, and when you change words, you change meaning. It can be as simple as conveying a different mood than was intended, or as serious as completely changing the message imparted. See the above Maya Angelou quote for an example on that concept.
But then, someone who obviously did not take a second to look it up, posted this:
Maybe my being irked about this makes me anal retentive. We all have reasons for being the way we are. I am compulsive about words (and a number of other things, but that’s beside the point).
On the other hand, it’s irksome when someone tells me I’m wrong when I know I’m right. Not only did I know I was right before I posted, I actually took the time to look it up before I commented. And with just a quick Web search, the commenter insisting that “HIPPA” is correct could have spared me from feeling the need to insist that I’m right, and advising them to look it up. I don’t enjoy looking anal retentive and holier than thou, and yet, I couldn’t bring myself to let this slide.
I can see why commenting on this makes me look picky and annoying. But then, I find it annoying when people claim to be knowledgeable about something, yet don’t even get the terminology right. Especially when all they have to do to verify is a quick check on an official Web site, like the one run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Am I less entitled to be annoyed than the next person? I don’t think so.
I also think that the whole HIPAA argument, as it pertains to John David Duggar’s potential hospitalization, is mostly irrelevant. The fact is, the people involved in John David’s medical care are beholden to HIPAA. Friends and relatives who might spill the beans about his alleged hospitalization are not. Either way, I personally don’t really care if he was in the hospital. If he was, and the show’s producers and/or Boob want the public to know about it, it will probably come out in a forthcoming episode of the super boring show, Counting On, or it will be covered by People magazine.
I know it’s just Facebook. I know I probably need professional help, or at least a life. I just felt like I needed to get this off my chest. Thank you for indulging me, and, for the love of GOD– look it up!
And here are the original comments from that piece in 2018:
AlexisARDecember 23, 2018 at 9:24 AM It’s a good strategy to look something up before correcting someone whenever it is practical to do so. Anyone’s memory can have a brief malfunction. Looking it up first saves a person the indignity of looking very silly.
Sometimes when one is working in a group setting, as in for presentations, someone in the group is insistent upon spelling a word incorrectly when doing so would make everyone in the group [and not just the person who insisted upon the incorrect spelling] appear ignorant. Most of us have phones with Internet access on us almost all the time now, so it’s not so hard to do. A lady in the city where I lived from the ages of nine until sixteen still hates my mom because my mom insisted that “potato” did noy have an “e” on the end (the lady was apparently plenty old enough that she should have remembered the Dan Quayle debacle, which even I know about, and it happened before I was born) when they were creating posters for a PTA-sponsored event. I wasn’t a big fan of Dan Quayle after the fact, but that particular fiasco was the fault of whatever teacher incorrectly spelled “potato” on the list of words to be used for the spelling bee.
I find it somewhat outrageous that anyone would claim expert status or expertise concerning a set of regulations commonly referred to with an acronym when said person knew neither the correct spelling nor the words represented by the letters of the acronym. The fact that these people are citing laws that are likely irrelevant to the disclosure of John David Duggar’s recent hospitalization lends further credence to the idea that the HIPAA/HIPPA “experts” aren’t quite so knowledgeable as they claim to be.
Misspelling an acronym that is the subject of a debate is not the same as committing a typographical error when typing the word “because” in the same argument. I think the point went over Pickles’ head.
- Thomas WikmanDecember 23, 2018 at 12:20 PM There is nothing wrong with correcting people’s mistakes, especially if they insist that you are wrong. I don’t mind it. People who mind need to learn to take corrections the right way anyway (humbly and appreciative).
- knottyDecember 23, 2018 at 2:53 PM Right. I would rather be corrected than keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
- dleDecember 23, 2018 at 2:19 PMOh, I am with you 100% on this. People can think I’m a nitpicker all they want, but the seemingly small details matter. And if people can’t get the small things right, that really makes me inclined to question anything else they have to say. I am so tired of hearing people refer to the FAFSA form for college aid by calling it the FASFA. And there is an animal shelter in my area called SICSA (Society for Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals), yet most people call it SISCA….geez people!!
- knottyDecember 23, 2018 at 2:54 PM Yeah… you’d think they could get five little letters right, especially when they are claiming to be an authority.