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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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Here is the scenario: 1. Elderly father was in intensive

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Here is the scenario:
1. Elderly father was in intensive care and rehabilitation facilities for 10 months
2. He is the guarantor for his medical bills and is named on both medicare and supplemental health insurance
3. He was never deemed unable to speak for himself or make his own decisions
4. Elderly mother (spouse) holds power of attorney for him
5. Liquidated all assets with Elderly father's name as part of medicaid eligibility process
6. Two weeks prior to filing with Medicare but after all assets were liquidated (placed in medicaid approved annuity with Elderly mother's name), father passes away.
7. Nearly 12 months later separate phone calls from the hospital to me, and to my sister were received requesting payment of ~$162,000 due to the hospital
8. Sister (not power of attorney for either) contacts the hospital and receives billing and treatment information pertaining to Elderly Father.
9. Me (power of attorney for Elderly mother) and sister review all insurance and hospital statements received, before and after, Elderly father's death. Within the hospital statements are charges for a variety of patients of the hospital reflecting father as the guarantor. Charges range from ER visits, physical therapy, and cardiac care.
10. Document found where mother signed letter authorizing usage of last available medicare eligible days. Date of letter was post father's last stay.
11. Sister continues to communicate with hospital. Statements are sent from the hospital, with father as guarantor, but with sister's address.

I could go on. The questions are:
1. What is the liability of the outstanding medical bills to mother?
2. Is there a legal breach on the hospital's part for providing patient information to non-authorized individuals?

Thank you for your question.

Generally, your mother will not be personally liable for the outstanding medical bills. However, your father's estate will be liable for it.

Thus, if there are any assets which belong to your father's estate, these will be subject to liquidation in order to pay the hospital bill.

In regard to your question regarding the breach by the hospital by revealing non-related third party medical information to you, this is technically a violation of HIPAA confidentiality provisions. However, the duty is owed to the patient not to you.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
TexLaw and 10 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you! It's been a difficult 2 years trying to resolve this. Your response is consistent with what we are finding in our research. However, we really needed an expert to weigh in on the subject.


My sister and I are feeling more confident that we are on the right path and have done our due diligence to defend our mother in denying payment to the hospital.


One thank you is not enough...Thank you, again!

You are very welcome, I know that this situation is very difficult and I wish you success in getting it resolved.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!


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