Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Privacy Act: patient consent to collect and disclose information:

This is a gentle reminder for all privately practicing midwives to get patient / client consent to collect and disclose information, especially now that there are eligible midwives: something else we have to set up for the practice........

All organisations that provide a health service are covered by the Privacy Act (whether or not they are small businesses). Organisations providing a health service include:
traditional health service providers such as private hospitals and day surgeries, doctors and specialists
• pharmacists
• allied health professionals such as psychologists
• complementary therapists like naturopaths and chiropractors and
• in some cases other services like gyms, fitness services and weight loss clinics, child care and schools (if they provide a health service and hold health information).

The National Privacy Principles set out how organisations should collect, use, keep, secure and disclose personal information. They cover collection, use and disclosure date quality
Further information on the new privacy legislation can be obtained from the Australian Privacy Commissioner’s web site

Don’t leave Privacy to chance:

10 steps to protecting other people’s Personal Information:

1. Collect only the information your require
2. Don’t gather personal information just because you can and just in case you require it
3. Tell people what you are doing with the personal information you are collecting
4. Consider whether you should be using personal information for a particular reason
5. Think about whether you need to divulge the information
6. If people ask, give them access to the personal information you hold about them
7. Keep personal information secure
8. Don’t keep information longer than you need to
9. Keep information accurate and up to date
10. Consider making someone in your organisation or agency responsible for privacy

Use and Disclose example: with my consent, the practice staff will use and disclose your information for purposes such as:
- account keeping and billing purposes
- referral to another medical practitioner or health care provider
- sending of specimens for analysis
- referral to a hospital for treatment and or advice
- advice on treatment options
- the management of our practice

Ensure that you gain the clients consent (best to have written consent) for the practice or midwife to collect, use and disclose personal information as outlined and I understand that I may withdraw my consent as to use and disclosure of my personal information......

ref pic:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What’s in a name? Independent; Private Practice Midwife; Eligible Midwife

As I ponder how to advertise myself on the Internet I look at the possible variables and it comes down to “independent midwife” or “private practice midwife”, so let’s have a look at what difference a name makes:

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

By definition: “independent” –an independent person or thing.... not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion.... thinking or acting for oneself..... not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction. – A free thinker.... not influenced by the thought or actions of others....

“private” – belonging to some particular person ( personal belonging)...pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; individual; personal; undertaken personally or individually without the presence of others; alone

“private practice” – independent and not as an employee; mainly pertaining to medicine;

Quote by George Bernard Shaw;
“He said that private practice in medicine ought to be put down by law. When I asked him why, he said that private doctors were ignorant licensed murders.” private practice by definition pertains to general medical care.... family practice and independent pertains to separate, liberated, free – alone, aloof, self governing

When I did a Google /Yahoo search of “independent midwife” the search generated pages of independent midwives Australia wide and internationally. The Google/Yahoo search with “Private Practice Midwives” generates equally a list of midwives however I have to say not as many as “independent” and more groups and associations....

It is interesting to note that the new Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2010 refers to Private Practice Midwives and makes no mention of Independent Midwives: therefore I think there is a change in terminology .... moving towards private practice....

The upshot of this exercise highlighted that it doesn’t matter about the name women will find you whether you are called “independent or private midwife” so to throw the cat amongst the pigeons I am going to call myself “eligible private midwife”. My rationale for this is to focus on the legislative changes for midwives by highlighting the ‘eligible’ aspect therefore informing women of the ability to access Medicare rebates for midwifery care.

Remember; a midwife is a midwife is a midwife.... eligible, independent, private makes no real difference what matters is that you are a midwife.

The lost art of letter writing: Etiquette:

I come from an era of when someone sends you a letter, remembering that a letter is in place of the spoken word..... It is polite to respond particularly in business; it was accepted etiquette to respond and say thank you for your letter, we will respond shortly or whatever the reasons are.....this is not the case anymore. Not responding is tantamount to rudeness, being uncivil as if to ignore a person who is talking to you.

Question: Do we put emails into the same category as a letter?

The end of February I sent a letter to our Private Health Fund with a query of an overpayment, this was a substantial over payment and we were keen to find out whether our fortnightly payments were going to be reduced and a refund of the overpayment. Up until last week I had not heard anything, so I rang them to ask had they received my letter. The Health Fund, said, yes we are processing your claim. When I asked “why did you not respond in writing”, their response was “oh we don’t do that, it’s not our policy”...... I asked how am I to know you received the query then... “emm” she said... “I guess you have to wait or call to confirm it has been received” as you can imagine I was less than happy with that response... the outcome was that the young lady assured me she would ring back when the claim had been assessed and completed..... I find this disgraceful business etiquette..... the Health Fund rang today to confirm that they were going to credit our membership... they did not ask if we wanted a refund.... and they were not going to send a statement to show how they came to their conclusions, even when it was asked for they said ‘it is not the way we do business” WHAT!... again not how I thought business should be run.... where is the accountability? what I do know is that if we owed them money...we would be receiving an account on a weekly basis....

Over the last 6 months I have written many letters and emails, mainly business orientated; I have come to notice that I have not had any responses to my letters. I wonder why this is. I have written to politicians, hospitals, GP’s with very little response not even the common courtesy to say thank you for your letter and we wish you well.....or we are looking into your enquiry and will inform you of the outcome. But alas no responses..... There could be several reasons for this.... one they don’t want to know about what I am asking.... or is letter writing just an out dated exercise... maybe I should twitter, or Facebook.... only joking:
Writing letters is about keeping in touch, building relationships and politeness’s about presenting your business and responding shows good etiquette even if you do not want the product.....or service:

I do think as a society we are losing the art of letter writing on a personal level because communication via the internet has exponentially grown and therefore letter writing is not really necessary. Although I do think it is an art worth keeping..... but very few people do it anymore, which is a sad reflection of the times.

picture ref:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The art of being patient: Centred Midwifery Group Practice:

The Centred Midwifery Group's interesting for me,in my mind the vision of the practice is a complete success, it flows smoothly and seems easy.... however the reality is somewhat different there are so many other variables involved to which I have no control. Yes that might be naive of me or it could be that the vision I have is so strong that it propels me to do the things I do... However the truth is that this is going to be a long slow process and I need to rethink the way forward in terms of my sustainability and how we are going to get collaboration working.... as my friends, colleagues and family keep telling me that “Rome was not built in a day” and it has taken us 20 years to get Medicare rebates for midwives.... a valued colleague said yesterday “ you are going to fall on your bottom and few times...the trick is to get back up and keep going,” “why are you surprised?” ......The answer is that I have a vision and the vision doesn’t have the stonewalls..........

The story thus far: The Group Practice has a brilliant dedicated team or midwives/consumers working to build the practice: We owe Berry Digital Design(Cass) an enormous Thank you she has done all our logo designing flyers, business cards / letterheads/invoices/receipts etc, printing and all pro bono...I highly recommend her so check out her website: if you want any designing or printing done. We have our email x6 is setup and the website and blog is coming as I type... so watch this space.....Our rooms are at the Conscious Conception and Birth Centre and we are now setting up the office with equipment: if anyone has a phone fax and photocopier/computer they would like to donate please let me know: Medicare provider number obtained, Insurance paid, pathology and diagnostic rights have all been secured and we are working on collaborative arrangements with the local Health Service..... this will take time: Most importantly we are starting to get clients and this is what keeps us going.... our practice is about offering women choice the choice to birth with a known midwife.... continuity of midwifery’s about having time to talk to women, engage and build trusting relationships with women and their family throughout pregnancy birth and the postnatal period...

It is an exciting process setting up a new midwifery group practice in WA....
The next step is to go and visit the local hospitals, MP’s and GP surgeries to introduce the Practice and rally up support.... go to consumer meetings and get the word out there.....and last but not least advertising for clients....... it really is very exhilarating watching it all coming to fruition.
We need more midwives to pick up eligibility..... if you are an experienced midwife and want to work with women in the community, that is at home and hospital births please consider this me for more information about the process that is required for eligibility it’s not difficult you just need three years post registration working across the continuum of midwifery: or visit the AHPRA website and follow the links to eligibility:

As for me.... it is practising the art of patience’s....slowly, slowly, slowly..... Diplomacy and political lobbying; continue meditation... this has really proven helpful in slowing my mind chatter and keeping a calm demeanour...
Watch this space for our grand opening...... date coming soon......

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rules of engagement and Facebook:

Firstly I want you to think about why do you engage in Facebook (FB)? What is your primary focus?...this question is very important as you will read further into this blog. For me it is about connecting with people, friends, associates, overseas family, local family, it’s about linking, networking and disseminating information.... FB is one of the fastest growing social mediums in the is changing the way we communicate.... I see it as a fantastic way to get information out to the cyber world..... and remember it stays there forever:

A recent study shows that 54% of Australians use FB.........

Recently a friend described and instance where she was reprimanded in her work place over a Facebook (FB) comment, in fact she did not write the comment she ‘liked’ the comment; I thought that the reprimand was a rather excessive step, so I delved into the possible legal implications of such an activity and have decided that there are some specific rules that you need to consider when engaging on FB.... in fact we all know the rules I think that often people believe the comments they are making are so ambiguous, insipid or insidious that it won’t be connected to them or their work place..... Think again.

The term ‘friend’ on FB is a false term it lures you into a artificial sense of security; come on think about it.... how many of us really have 200-300 friends in real life?.... when I was growing up they use to say “if you are lucky, you will be able to count your true friends on one hand”..... In FB the people I allow in yes are called ‘friends’ and some truly are but the majority are valued colleagues, acquaintances, ex students, friends of friends...etc... not what I consider true ‘friends’, I have to say I like them otherwise I would not invite or accept them..... but in the true sense of the word friends.... most of them are not.... please don’t misunderstand this.... but it is a fact of life: Therefore I go back to the question Why do you engage in FB? You have to really consider who you let into your FB world and what you publish. Keep work and FB separate.

After doing a web search regarding some legal issues on FB... I have come up with a list of rules that might help you keep out of trouble in the work place or anywhere else relating to FB.

Rule 1: really consider carefully who you are letting into your FB as a ‘friend’, if you allow mangers, work colleagues/associates this means you let your work into your private life. Ensure you have a closed privacy setting.

Rule 2: Do not mention anything to do with your work place no matter how insignificant you think it is... if you can be connected to your work by your comment you probably break the golden rules of ‘confidentially’ and ‘Code of Conduct’.

Rule 3: Be mindful of the photos of yourself you allow on FB, these photos become the property of FB and if you are acting in an unbecoming manner this could come back to bite you later. Don’t allow people to take your photo without asking you and letting you know if it is going on FB.

Rule 4: Do not write on FB when you are angry or under the influence of alcohol once the information is in cyber space it stays there: Internet Defamation is the fastest growing litigation don’t write anything derogatory about anyone.

Rule 5: People seem to believe what you do outside of work does not affect your work life....WRONG....this is dependent on what it is and if you have you bought your profession/company/school into disrepute? Just think of our footballers .....there is a prime example of unbecoming behavior.

Rule 6: Social responsibility: this is like a duty of care to society, a reciprocal duty: we owe society and society owes us a mutually beneficial obligation. Be kind to each other.

The bottom line FB is on your employers radar; remember be careful who you invite in your world, don’t talk about work, don’t say anything derogatory and be mindful of the photos you let FB have:

Have a read.. How to use FB without loosing your job over it.....
Happy Facebooking!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy, but loving it:

Life is a wonderful journey with lots of lessons to learn... however I can't believe that I can still be so naive in terms of maternity reform. I have so many things to blog about its hard to know where to start:

Friendship: my friend returns to the UK this evening ...yes I am sad because we have so much in common and it is nice to share with someone who accepts you for who you are and knows your failings and understands your vulnerability: we may not see each other often these days but each time we do its like we've never been apart..... there is something so special about the kinship that women have with each other....

This now brings me to my spiritual journey.... Buddhism and mediation: there are many different categories within Buddhism... the one I am exploring is Kadampa Buddhism.. I am half way through the eight steps to happiness ( 8 week course)...which at times really has tested my way of being...the fundamental way of my thinking processes is being challenged: "May I take defeat upon myself and offer them the victory"..... I am having huge problems with this.... yes I can hear you say... that's because you have an ego problem...and maybe I do.... but it is really hard to do I have been taking little steps.... I just don't say anything malevolent ... I just keep quiet... and I don't think it either...I try to work out why I am so angry or upset... and cherish them instead...and I have to say I think it is working slowly...I did say slowly... but it is making me rethink the way I say things....I don't think I have quite reached Abraham Lincoln's philosophy; The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend; the journey continues.

Maternity reforms: this has been very frustrating these last few weeks... and I have had to cherish many times on the phone when I am getting blocked at every corner...requesting pathology and radiology access has been problematic...the reforms have been in place since November 1 2010; yet all pathology and radiology depts have not prepared for this process....I have had almost every excuse under the sun...such as databases need to be changed, it has to go through the billing committee... even staff education has not we cant give you access until all this has been achieved....FRUSTRATING.... I have noted on the Medicare webpage that they have PBS forms already but we can't use them as there are no approved courses yet.... strange this is available.... anyway after a few weeks of inconvenience the pathology process for two companies and one radiology dept has been approved... so this is good news it will be smooth sailing from here on in......

Good news....the process has began, my first pathology and radiology requests went through without a woman at 13/40 has had all her first trimester screening completed.... should get the results next is a fantastic feeling for both of us.... to have the complete package of care... just this space for more...

Singapore was dazzling, I just love the teaching, the students are keen, enthusiastic and in the workshops they never cease to amaze me with there wild imaginative stories there is never a dull moment....I spent most of my time teaching and in my spare time at Sim Lim Square the techno junkie's toy shop....visited my local Buddhist temple had a philosophical discussion about lying with a monk....ate chili crab and to die for satay sticks.... oh and I forgot I tried an ice cream sandwich... yes with coloured bread....

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