A friend, has unfortunately had many years of ongoing conflict with the mother of his two children. He and the mother share joint decision making in non-emergent health care decisions. She brought their children to an orthodontist with whom whe had a previous relationship who told her the children needed braces. My friend was never informed that the children were seeing an orthodontist, and certainly not the orthodontist "friend" in question until he received a bill for which he was told he was responsible for 50%. The children's mother was unable to provide any proof that she had been billed. He wanted to find out further information about the children's orthontic needs and was told by the dentist that he was under no obligation to discuss the matter with him, only their mother. My friend politely stated his rights on the phone. The following day he went to the dental office to ask for a copy of medical records and brought a copy of the Parenting Plan. He was absolutely polite in his intereractions with staff.The following day he received an accussatory email from the children's mother who stated that she had been contacted by her dentist friend who hadn't been present at the time of the discussion with staff but, by her account, stated that my friend "created a scene" and said she had been asked "what's wrong with him". My friend is a gentleman and never raises his voice or "creates a scene". But the issue is, wouldn't calling their mother to describe his visit to their clinic, the prupose, and any comments about his behavior (valid or not) constitute a violation of HIPAA guidelines? Can a medical office ever discuss the behavior of a patient (or patient's parent) with any outside individual? The Dentist clearly knew they were estranged both because of his own relationship with the mother and the call he recieved from my friend that there was pre-existing conflict. My friend is concerned that the dentist can neither be neutral in dealing with the parent's different goals for cosmetic orthodonture; he is concerned about being falsely accused of poor behavior, and he (and his friends) are concerned that the dentist in question has violated federally protected privacy rights. Do you think this is the case?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Washington
He has treid to exsplain in writing and phone to the dentist that he should not be involved in the tgreatment of the children and has asked the mother to see a different dentist for a second opinion or for ongoing treatment. She has file a motion demanding that she be free to continue care at the office of her friend.
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Your analysis is not what I wanted to hear, but very good and useful. I recognize that I can probably not "sneak in" a corollary question at this point, but legal issues remain. Should my friend have to pay his half of the medical services if there is no evidence that the mother has to pay? (remember this is not a medical emergency). The final issue is that she brought the kids to this dentist without ever seeking my friends approval and is now claiming he knew about it. (She was previously found to be in contempt for bringing the children for medical visits and procedures without informing their father.) Isn't she again in contempt for initiating orthodonture care without notifying their father?
Thank you for your expert help. I will complete the rating whether or not you choose to make further commnents, but just want to grab you while you are engaged.
Thank you for your follow-up, Frank. I appreciate your words and understand that the answer may not have been as you hoped. I will be more than happy to follow-up and respond to your concerns further.Should my friend have to pay his half of the medical services if there is no evidence that the mother has to pay? (remember this is not a medical emergency). Yes and no, if the decree between them states that parents share medical expenses, he is required to pay even if this was not a medical emergency. However he CAN demand to see the invoice from the dentist before he pays, simply as a means of ensuring that the work did happen. Is he on the proverbial hook if the work was done? Absolutely. Can he double-check before he cuts a check? Also absolutely.The final issue is that she brought the kids to this dentist without ever seeking my friends approval and is now claiming he knew about it. (She was previously found to be in contempt for bringing the children for medical visits and procedures without informing their father.) Isn't she again in contempt for initiating orthodonture care without notifying their father?Hmmm, it is very possible. If this was a non emergency procedure and she never asked for permission, it is a violation of the decree. The other parent could take her back to court for contempt and request that the courts admonis, fine, or even jail her, and possibly request that she pay for the procedure on her own as she did not obtain proper consent first.Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41090.684237037
I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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