Privacy of Medical Records

Recently, I received in the mail a notification about a class action lawsuit regarding the prescription drug modafinil. Anyone who bought modafinil between 2006 and 2012 it is entitled to receive money from a settlement in the lawsuit. I have had a modafinil prescription for several years and, no doubt, I am entitled to participate in the settlement and receive some amount of money from it. I wonder, though, how they found out about my prescription. Medical records are supposed to be highly confidential. In many instances, it’s like pulling hen’s teeth when I want to get information from my own records. How did some lawyers I’ve never heard of get my name and address as a person who has bought modafinil? How did they do it without my knowledge? I suppose my modafinil prescription is now a matter of public record, since the lawyers involved in the settlement are no doubt required to file with the court a statement certifying that they gave notice of the settlement to a list of named people who were determined to have been modafinil users or purchasers. I’m not sure which is more unsettling, that I got overcharged for the drug, or that lawyers I don’t know were able to find out I used or bought a certain drug.

Happy Birthday Magna Carta

No, Magna Carta is not the melted rock that comes out of volcanoes, but it is a bedrock of Western society and a major ingredient in the documents that formed the foundation of the United States of America. If you don’t know what Magna Carta is, or even if you do know what it is, then go here and read. This year is its 800th birthday. It wouldn’t be a bad time to also read the documents our founding fathers crafted to form this nation (you know – Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights), and to ponder whether, and how far, our government has strayed from the guarantees they vested in the citizens of this nation. These documents are supposed to protect us from a government that has become too powerful for our own good. That rumbling you’ve been hearing in the background is our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves wondering when we’re going to notice. Liberals, of course, would be quick to point out that it wasn’t the citizens who made the King sign Magna Carta for the benefit the lower and middle classes but, rather, the barons for the benefit of the rich folks.

Ten Acres or What?

Although KCC regulations require 10 acres for a drilling unit and 330 feet between a well and a lease line, in Eastern Kansas we’ve been drilling on 2.5 acre spacing for decades. This was based on another KCC regulation that specified in this part of the state a well only had to be 165 feet from the lease line. If that’s the “radius” from the well bore, the diameter would be 330 feet and, if a square, 330′ x 330′ makes 2.5 acres. However, the same regulation did not go on to say that, although a well only had to be 165 feet from the line, wells could be drilled on 2.5 acre spacing. Now, suddenly, the KCC is starting to require operators to apply for “well location exceptions” if they want to drill  on less than 10 acre spacing. The trouble is, Eastern Kansas is stripper well country and if you can only drill one well per 10 acres, you may not get enough oil to make “paying quantities” which is required to keep the lease alive (held by production). Even if an operator can get paying quantities, with production being cut 75%, who’s going to want to develop and operate in these parts? This suits a lot people fine because they don’t want oil wells around these parts, anyway. They aren’t thinking, of course, about all the tax revenues the counties get from that unwanted oil. Maybe without all those pumps clogging up the surface there’ll be more development of housing and commercial buildings that will generate more real estate taxes to make up for the loss of oil taxes. One thing seems certain, the landscape is in flux, and the future of oil in Eastern Kansas is uncertain.