I’m reposting this article that appeared in my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife on December 22, 2018. I’m mainly reposting it because I have an older post that linked to the original on Blogspot, and that blog is now private. I’m mostly leaving this as/is, so please keep that in mind. What was written in that post was current as of 2018, not 2023.
This morning, I read an interesting little tidbit on the Duggar Family News: Life is not all pickles and hairspray Facebook page (not to be confused with the Facebook group by the same name and run by the same person). It seems that “Pickles”, who has sources in the Duggar family and regularly breaks Duggar gossip before it hits the press, got the news that John David Duggar, newly married to his wife, Abbie, was recently hospitalized.
Pickles states that the information she got was unconfirmed, but “seems reliable”. A poster on the page chastised Pickles for sharing what she feels is personal information, particularly when the news is unverified. It wasn’t long before a debate about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) started. Poster after poster quoted their credentials as to why they know that law intimately. Over half of them referred to the law as “HIPPA”.
I can understand why people do this so often. HIPAA, when said out loud, sounds like “hippo”. It’s counterintuitive to spell it HIPAA, with two a’s at the end. However, HIPAA is an acronym. It’s not a typical word. Then, there’s also the auto-correct we’re all saddled with on almost every electronic device these days. The computer thinks it knows better than the user does, and will “fix” things that don’t need fixing. But then, “hippa” is also not a real word in English, so auto-correct should not be an issue in this case.
I was amazed by the number of “experts” who kept misspelling the acronym that represents the law they claim to know so well. You’d think if the law was so well burned into their heads, they’d know how to spell the acronym properly.
I myself learned a little bit about HIPAA when I was earning my master’s degree in public health. My focus of study was on what was then called “health administration (HADM)”. The program from which I graduated later changed the name to Health Services Policy and Management (HSPM). I’ve noticed other changes, both in the Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. For example, when I was a student, both programs were strictly for graduate students. Now, both programs offer bachelor’s degrees. You can bet the people in those programs know which acronym is theirs.
Anyway, I know it sounds petty to be complaining about this. God knows, despite having a degree in English, I don’t always do things exactly right when I write. I guess it’s because the older I get, the more crotchety I become, particularly about petty issues. I also think that when people claim to know something really well, to the point at which they qualify their statements with their credentials, they should be able to get a five letter acronym exactly right. If you really know about HIPAA, and want me to believe that you know about it, then you should know that it’s not spelled “HIPPA”.
By the way, I doubt there are that many actual experts on the HIPAA law. Indeed, have a look at the Wikipedia article about HIPAA. It’s my understanding that HIPAA is a very complex piece of legislation that encompasses a lot of different areas regarding healthcare. It’s not simply about your right to healthcare privacy; it’s also about taxes, application and enforcement of group health insurance requirements, fraud prevention, and a host of other things that I don’t feel like looking up right now. So while many people do have to work within the HIPAA law, my guess is that they only know the part that specifically pertains to the work they do.
If I wanted to, I could provide screenshots of the “expert commentary” on the HIPAA law where self-described expert after expert refers to it as “HIPPA”. I don’t feel like doing that, though, because it would mean my having to take the time to block out their names to protect their privacy. I can’t be arsed to do that this morning, especially when anyone who really cares about this issue can simply check out the page. The Duggar Family News page is open to all. If this post were in the group, where one must be added by the admin, I might be more inclined to provide some cable.
As to John David Duggar and his possible hospital stay… Well, honestly, I don’t care about it too much. While I agree in principle that everyone is entitled to privacy, particularly when it comes to their healthcare, I also think the Duggars are public figures. The adult Duggars who continue to stay in the “family business” kind of sign up for random people caring about why they’re in the hospital.
On the other hand, I personally believe that the Duggars’ fifteen minutes of fame probably should have been over a while ago. I mean, they’re mostly famous for being fundie Christians and Michelle Duggar’s hyperactive womb. A lot of what made them interesting, when they first came on the scene in the early 00s, are now relics of the past. They’ve moved into the Tinkertoy Mansion, so we don’t see them all sleeping on top of each other like they did years ago. The children no longer wear the frumpy, freakish, fundie uniforms they used to wear. I mean, the girls still wear long skirts and flip flops, but they don’t wear the ugly homemade jumpers and lacy collared blouses. The boys don’t wear the khaki pants and polo shirts. A lot of the youngsters have graduated from the School of the Dining Room Table. And some of the married women are now wearing pants and have piercings.
I don’t wish ill on any of the Duggars, per se. I don’t even wish ill on “sex pest” Josh Duggar. I just think that wondering why John David might have been hospitalized is a waste of time. I’d rather wonder about other things, like whether or not there’s lint in my butt crack and bellybutton. But that’s just me.
I just hope that if I’ve done one productive thing today, it’s to impart upon my readers that if you really want to seem knowledgeable about something, the first thing you should do is learn how to properly spell the name of your topic. I don’t know about other people, but I have a hard time respecting a person’s so-called expert credentials about something when they keep misspelling its name… especially when the name consists of just five little letters. But then, I’m also the type of person who gets annoyed when people write “breath” when they mean “breathe”, or “phase” when they mean “faze”, or “per say” when they mean “per se”. To me, spelling is fundamental. That’s why I’m still an overeducated housewife.
And below are the original comments from 2018. Here’s a link to the follow up post.
- AlexisARDecember 23, 2018 at 1:16 AM. I’m not tremendously concerned about John David’s hospital stay (real or imaginary) either, and neither am I an expert on medical privacy regulations beyond the common sense factors I need to know to avoid violating anyone’s privacy (in med school we had to pass shelf exams on the elements of HIPAA pertinent to us, but it’s mostly common sense), but unless the information concerning John David happened to have been disclosed without authorization by medical, insurance, or review board personnel with access to his information, would it be in any way relevant to HIPAA regulations?
I’m still here for one more day before I return to the Great White North. Santa Barbara was gorgeous.
- RebeckahDecember 23, 2018 at 2:38 AM You’re right, Alexis — I’m a Homecare Aide and we have to know about the HIPAA privacy aspect (and pass annual tests about it too). If I were providing care in some way to John then I would violate his privacy (and violate HIPAA) if I told people about it. However, if is sister Mary Lou Who decided to share the news because she can’t stand the fact that he ate the last sugar cookie when she was 12 — well that’s just family for you. lol
- knottyDecember 23, 2018 at 5:50 AM. I couldn’t stand it, so I posted the correct spelling. Pickles’ response was “whatever”, which I find disappointing. Someone else flat out called me out and said I was wrong, which prompted me to provide a link to the law’s official Web page, proving I’m right. I know it makes me sound anal retentive, but I think people who want to act like they’re in the know about HIPAA should know the way to spell it. And I also got quite a few likes, so there’s the ego boost for that, too. Ha haha… I could use an ego boost.