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David Baxter

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Do the Rules Apply to Dr. Phil?
January 10, 2008

Most doctors and therapists won?t disclose the names of their patients, let alone comment on their mental states. Federal and state licensing rules typically forbid it.

But TV therapist Phil McGraw, who recently visited frazzled pop star Britney Spears at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, not only confirmed the meeting to Entertainment Tonight, but said the diva was ?in dire need of medical and psychological intervention.? Now the Internet is buzzing with questions about whether Dr. Phil, as he is known, violated Ms. Spears?s privacy.

But patient privacy guidelines are decided by state licensing boards and federal rules, experts said today, and none of these appears to apply to Dr. McGraw.

State medical ethics rules are not applicable, according to legal specialists, because Dr. McGraw is not a licensed therapist. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from North Texas State University and was licensed for 20 years in Texas, according to a spokeswoman at CBS, which airs his show. But he is no longer licensed in Texas, nor in California, where he now lives.

At the national level, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, also prevents doctors, therapists and health care workers from disclosing patients? medical information. Yet the act governs only providers who use electronic billing, says Kirk J. Nahra, head of the privacy practice at law firm Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C.

?If he never bills anybody for counseling services, he very well may not be covered by HIPAA,? said Mr. Nahra. ?Depending on his licensing, he may not have professional ethical obligations, either.?

Finally, Ms. Spears isn?t Dr. McGraw?s patient, according to his spokeswoman.
?He did not go to counsel her, but rather as a private citizen,'? Theresa Corigliano, vice president of communications at CBS Corp., wrote in an e-mail message. Despite his statement to Entertainment Tonight, Ms. Corigliano added, ?He has never spoken publicly about what happened in that hospital room, and will not.?

A few bloggers have also questioned whether Cedars-Sinai violated HIPAA by allowing Ms. Spears?s parents to invite Dr. Phil to her room.

A Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman said the hospital had no comment on the matter. Ms. Corigliano said the visit was handled ?by the book? by Cedars-Sinai employees, volunteers and security.

?He and the family hoped that he would have some quiet time to talk to Ms. Spears about seeking reliable medical and psychological assistance,'? she said. ?He was escorted to her room by family members, and she greeted him. There was no drama of any kind.'?

Dr. Jeffrey Sugar, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry, crisis and emergency service at the University of Southern California, told the Associated Press that even though Ms. Spears?s parents invited Dr. McGraw, the pop star, 26, is an adult and has the right to decide whom she lets into her hospital room.

A spokeswoman for the Spears family told NBC?s Today show the star?s parents had asked Dr. McGraw to visit her in a hospital last week, but that he violated their trust by talking about it.

Mr. Nahra notes that though many workers aren?t bound by federal or state ethics rules on privacy, most are nonetheless reluctant to disclose personal medical information about others.

?There are lots of people who don?t have to follow those rules who still don?t talk about the health care status of people,? said Mr. Nahra. ?I can?t put myself in either Britney?s or his shoes. It?s a whole different world. There?s an element of publicity that?s not involved when you visit your family physician.?
 

David Baxter

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Media Whore, PhD

Media Whore, PhD
By Bryn Robinson
January 9, 2008

I cannot believe that I am going to blog about this - but honestly, I feel a tad bit sorry for Britney and her recent brush with Psychology-Jesus Dr. Phil.

Now, I have felt pretty strongly against the concept of Dr. Phil in the past. Admittedly this feeling has weakened slightly, given the facts that I caught snippets of his show and found that perhaps 1) helped educate the public and weaken stigma against psychological problems, and 2) provided needy individuals and families with psychological intervention and rehabilitation. However, his recent behaviour with regards to the troubled star has returned my opinion of his efforts to the bottom of the litter box. (My apologies to my psychological brethren for this lapse.) Specifically, he turned a private, family-requested meeting with Britney into the halftime show at the Super Bowl - discussing her situation (albeit in broad terms) on TV, and planning to air a special about her situation.

Dr. Phil: Doctor-patient confidentiality? Meh. That only applies to those wannabe PhD's - not to me, saviour of the mentally ill individual and the socially retarded American family unit. Ethics, schmethics. (insert diabolical laughter here)​
Yes, I know that by blogging about this whole fiasco I am merely furthering the media devotion on her issues. But I write about this incident only to implore us all to stop the morbid fascination with her every move. There is a line between being open about our personal experiences in order to erase stigma and educate about mental illness, and invasion of privacy. No one should be forced through media stalking to discuss every nuance of their waking moments; the individual must be ready and willing to discuss their experiences. Hopefully, we will develop into a culture where discussing mental illness and health is open and welcome, but even then it remains the personal decision of that individual.

I have never understood the fascination with celebrities and the media stalking they receive. Perhaps it is a secret delight at watching their tumble from stardom back to the ranks of us plebes. Or maybe it is the fairy tale illusion of their lives, mixed in with a good dose of "American Dream" potential, that gives us something to long for. Nonetheless, there are plenty of regular folks in our daily living that have stories to share with us, and who are willing to share these tales (after all, our hectic society has turned us into some pretty lonely folks). If we took the time to talk with our neighbour instead of Googling celebrities' eating patterns, we would understand that we all share the same kinds of experiences - mental health or mental illness, celebrity or not.
 

lallieth

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2007
Messages
831
Points
16
Whether or not he is still board certified and no longer has a professional obligation,he has a moral obligation to keep the information provided to him,and not give it up for public consumption.

But Dr Phil is a sensationalism seeker anyway and so I am not surprised by his current actions.
 

Retired

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
8,966
Points
36
Dr. Phil is a businessman who operates a business (his show). The show stays in business by attracting sponsors which pay him and his production company for the number of viewers his show (the business) can attract.

His only motivation is the number of dollars his production company can get from the sponsors, which translates into his income.

Dr. Phil seems to associate himself with enterprises which he feels can make him more money, such as the now defunct and alleged fraudulent diet scam that was shut down last year. There were some recent commercials associating him with an online dating service.

IMO Dr. Phil does not deserve to be considered a legitimate health professional, but rather a businessman who uses vulnerable people to further his own interests.

Do you feel Dr. Phil has any legitimacy as a mental health professional?
 

sunset

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
607
Points
16
I dont even think we need a Dr's say so, that Britney is in dire need of medical and mental attention. Anyone with eyes can see it...

I used to like Dr Phil, but I dont like how he has changed since going to Hollywood.
 

dark

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
59
Points
6
Dr Phil is a sensationalism seeker anyway and so I am not surprised by his current actions.

Usually he has about 5 canned solutions for each catastrophic personal problem, with the same routine repeatedly. The viewing audience still love the show's format.

As for B. Spears; I think Dr Phil could make some sort of impact and his 'involvement' should be positive; or at least that's how I see it.
 

sunset

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
607
Points
16
Re: Media Whore, PhD

Media Whore, PhD
By Bryn Robinson
January 9, 2008

I cannot believe that I am going to blog about this - but honestly, I feel a tad bit sorry for Britney and her recent brush with Psychology-Jesus Dr. Phil.

Now, I have felt pretty strongly against the concept of Dr. Phil in the past. Admittedly this feeling has weakened slightly, given the facts that I caught snippets of his show and found that perhaps 1) helped educate the public and weaken stigma against psychological problems, and 2) provided needy individuals and families with psychological intervention and rehabilitation. However, his recent behaviour with regards to the troubled star has returned my opinion of his efforts to the bottom of the litter box. (My apologies to my psychological brethren for this lapse.) Specifically, he turned a private, family-requested meeting with Britney into the halftime show at the Super Bowl - discussing her situation (albeit in broad terms) on TV, and planning to air a special about her situation.

Dr. Phil: Doctor-patient confidentiality? Meh. That only applies to those wannabe PhD's - not to me, saviour of the mentally ill individual and the socially retarded American family unit. Ethics, schmethics. (insert diabolical laughter here)​
Yes, I know that by blogging about this whole fiasco I am merely furthering the media devotion on her issues. But I write about this incident only to implore us all to stop the morbid fascination with her every move. There is a line between being open about our personal experiences in order to erase stigma and educate about mental illness, and invasion of privacy. No one should be forced through media stalking to discuss every nuance of their waking moments; the individual must be ready and willing to discuss their experiences. Hopefully, we will develop into a culture where discussing mental illness and health is open and welcome, but even then it remains the personal decision of that individual.

I have never understood the fascination with celebrities and the media stalking they receive. Perhaps it is a secret delight at watching their tumble from stardom back to the ranks of us plebes. Or maybe it is the fairy tale illusion of their lives, mixed in with a good dose of "American Dream" potential, that gives us something to long for. Nonetheless, there are plenty of regular folks in our daily living that have stories to share with us, and who are willing to share these tales (after all, our hectic society has turned us into some pretty lonely folks). If we took the time to talk with our neighbour instead of Googling celebrities' eating patterns, we would understand that we all share the same kinds of experiences - mental health or mental illness, celebrity or not.

I have a real problem with that statement. It is NOT the public that wants to see Britney Spears, its the people who gain a paycheck from stalking her and the magazines they work for... I had to say that.. Drives me nuts!!:hissyfit:
 

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