By Attorney Keith Stevens
Health record privacy is a major issue and it’s one that the government takes very seriously. The state and federal governments have passed multiple laws protecting your privacy. However, the laws are complex and often drafted with confusing language. The area has become so complicated that several federal agencies were actually taken to the Supreme Court recently for sharing peoples’ medical information between agencies in a way that the government admits was illegal. That case is Federal Aviation Association v. Cooper.
If the government can’t get its own laws straight, you can bet that it causes problems for ordinary folks. We’ve seen cases where a husband can’t get his wife’s medical information when she’s in the hospital or where a daughter with an otherwise valid healthcare power of attorney has all the rights to make decisions for her father, but isn’t allowed access to his medical records to make an informed decision. Hospitals are less willing to make exceptions because they can be fined as much as $25,000 per violation and the government is ramping up enforcement.
These privacy laws were done with good intentions, of course, but they can still be major roadblocks during a medical emergency—the worst possible time. That’s why Cooper, Adel & Associates stays abreast of the ever-changing laws and ensures that any documents it prepares has the necessary language to ensure that your designated loved ones have full access in times of crisis.