How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask N Cal Attorney Your Own Question
N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9088
Experience:  since 1983
9653905
Type Your Legal Question Here...
N Cal Attorney is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can a doctor require a patient to disclose an upcoming vasectomy

Customer Question

Can a doctor require a patient to disclose an upcoming vasectomy operation to his spouse and require him to obtain his spouse's signed permission as a condition to receiving medical services, given the passage of HIPAA Privacy Rule 45 CFR164.508(b)(4)? If so, can a doctor legally required a patient to disclose and obtained spose's consent in order to obtain other medical care?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 7 months ago.
My research indicates that there is no legal requirement for them to bet your spouse's consent but it is a common practice for many urologists apparently. They cannot legally requier you to disclose your medical condition to anyone unless that person has a health power of attorney or equivalent document.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I may not have written my question clearly enough. I want to know if a doctor is allowed to make a patient disclose and obtained spousal signed consent before allowing the male patient to obtain the vasectomy. Is a doctor who does this breaking the law?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 7 months ago.
He is allowed to do that. He is not breaking the law. However, he is not required by law to do this. He is just doing it on his own.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
HIPAA Privacy Rule 45 CFR 164.508(b)4 appears to prohibit this practice since obtaining a signed spousal consent requires disclosing the procedure to her- something the above law prohibits doctors from making a patient do in order to obtain medical services. Please explain how such a doctor engaging in that practice isn't breaking the above law.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 7 months ago.
Generally under the law a spouse is not considered a 3rd party to whom medical info cannot be shared.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Where does the law above or HIPAA make the exception you describe for spouses?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 7 months ago.
I am going to opt out so you can get a more specialized response.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 months ago.
New Expert here. The HIPAA exception states:(b) Standard: uses and disclosures for involvement in the individual's care and notification purposes. (1) Permitted uses and disclosures. (i) A covered entity may, in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2) or (3) of this section, disclose to a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend of the individual, or any other person identified by the individual, the protected health information directly relevant to such person's involvement with the individual's care or payment related to the individual's health care.fromhttps://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2003-title45-vol1/xml/CFR-2003-title45-vol1-sec164-510.xml There is no law that requires spousal consent for a married man to get a vasectomy, but there is also no law that requires an M.D. to perform a vasectomy that the M.D. feels may be inappropriate. Many M.D.'s find it inappropriate to sterilize a married patient without the knowledge of the patient's spouse. I am sorry if this is not the answer you had hoped for, but it would be unfair to you, and unprofessional of me, not to provide accurate information. This is exactly the type of decision that should be made in consultation with one's spouse. I hope this information is helpful.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 7 months ago.
Here is the rest of that section, sorry it did not post the first time I tried. (b) Standard: uses and disclosures for involvement in the individual's care and notification purposes. (1) Permitted uses and disclosures. (i) A covered entity may, in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2) or (3) of this section, disclose to a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend of the individual, or any other person identified by the individual, the protected health information directly relevant to such person's involvement with the individual's care or payment related to the individual's health care.(ii) A covered entity may use or disclose protected health information to notify, or assist in the notification of (including identifying or locating), a family member, a personal representative of the individual, or another person responsible for the care of the individual of the individual's location, general condition, or death. Any such use or disclosure of protected health information for such notification purposes must be in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2), (3), or (4) of this section, as applicable.(2) Uses and disclosures with the individual present. If the individual is present for, or otherwise available prior to, a use or disclosure permitted by paragraph (b)(1) of this section and has the capacity to make health care decisions, the covered entity may use or disclose the protected health information if it:(i) Obtains the individual's agreement;(ii) Provides the individual with the opportunity to object to the disclosure, and the individual does not express an objection; or(iii) Reasonably infers from the circumstances, based the exercise of professional judgment, that the individual does not object to the disclosure.(3) Limited uses and disclosures when the individual is not present. If the individual is not present, or the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure cannot practicably be provided because of the individual's incapacity or an emergency circumstance, the covered entity may, in the exercise of professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in the best interests of the individual and, if so, disclose only the protected health information that is directly relevant to the person's involvement with the individual's health care. A covered entity may use professional judgment and its experience with common practice to make reasonable inferences of the individual's best interest in allowing a person to act on behalf of the individual to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, or other similar forms of protected health information.