We recently went on the news to give ideas about how parents can help their kids wear masks. Of course, then we got a few anti-maskers giving us bad reviews on Facebook. People who aren’t even patients of ours.
Anyone have a good (and HIPPA compliant) response? Can we say “we don’t see you in our patient list, please call us so we can discuss your experience” or something like that? Or is that not HIPPA compliant?. We’ll call our insurance company too, but I love the creativity of this forum. And we’d love the help.
Sandy Herron
Tanque Verde Pediatrics
Tucson, AZ

I happened to consult an attorney who specializes in HIPAA matters and she pointed out the simple fact that if someone ISN’T a patient, there really is no HIPAA issue. However, of course there’s always a chance that someone was a patient and changed names or something silly.

Instead, why not pin a general post to Facebook OR even to each reply like this without directly addressing the individual. You could put something like this on every negative review: “Ever since our interview on local news supporting the wearing of mask in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. we’ve received many reviews from Facebook users whom we’ve never seen in our office and are sure are simply interested in turning scientific facts into a weird political statement. As physicians, we believe in science. Everyone else believes in magic. Please wear your mask, please stay at home if you can, and stay healthy.”

That way, no one can accuse you of speaking about them specifically even if you directly respond to them this way and even if you reply this way to EVERY negative review. Of course, adjust your language in the response to suit your needs :slight_smile:


I would treat them like antivax lunatics and get the help of physician moms group on Facebook to help combat the negative reviews. I’m not sure if this would help: I wrote a positive review! 🤷🏽

Hiral Lavania, MD, IBCLC, FAAP

One Family Pediatrics
2575 Peachtree Parkway | Suite 301
Cumming | Ga 30041
678.962.PEDS (7337)

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Maybe “kill them with kindness”? Our office manager tried to reach out to you to explain this further but we were unable to find you on our patient list. Unfortunately sometimes people with strong opinions who aren’t even our patients will use online platforms to attack physicians who are just trying to do the best they can to protect their patients and staff. Please contact our office manager at to let us know a good time to call.


We might need to start a Masks Worn Round the World along the lines of Shots Heard Round the World


These are very great suggestions and I believe we can all put them to good use. In our clinic, we do have to respond to reviews and some are BAD. Now, contrary to the bandwagon of "HIPPA’ being a reason not to respond to a bad review, we do have cause to respond as responsible physicians. When we do, the response starts out “Based on what you wrote above…”. We also make sure we do not divulge PHI which is what is protected under HIPPA. If indeed you want to respond to a comment, you may also say “Hypothetically, if a patient had this type of blah blah blah…”. That also reduces the likelihood of the HIPPA trap.
I would use EVERY negative review as a golden opportunity to elaborate on the PROs of engaging with your business while appropriately apologizing for the shortcomings of your business which does happen despite our best efforts. You can be certain that out of 400 reviews users will try to read the negative ones and the responses, so use it and milk it well.

And you could ask for them to put you in their will.

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We were recently sued for not allowing a parent to come without a mask. We are going into remediation because of the advice of a top lawyer here. We have not even started the case and are down thousands of $ in attorney fees. Mom states that she was ‘discriminated’ against, for needing to wear a mask. The lawyer says there is NO winning… and we should play dead. This will cost us more than 10k in attorney fees alone.