Every parent’s nightmare. Their child has graduated high school and has gone off to college. The phone call always comes at night. Nothing good ever comes from a phone call after 10:00 pm. Their child has been in an accident. They get to the hospital as fast as they can. However, the doctor will not talk to them about their child’s status. The parents are shocked. It is their child. Why would the doctor not talk to them?
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), healthcare providers are unable to disclose information about a patient to anyone, even a family member, unless explicitly authorized by the patient. Although healthcare practitioners are permitted to exercise professional judgment if the patient is unconscious or incapacitated, they may be hesitant to do so as they could face lofty fines and potential jail time if they violate HIPAA laws.
Every person over the age of 18 should have a properly drafted and executed Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney.