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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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I have gone with my elderly father before to see his doctor

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I have gone with my elderly father before to see his doctor and my father has signed all the HIPAA docs to have his doctor talk to me about my father's health care. There was an MRI scheduled for my dad, which was then canceled and my father went by himself to see his doctor (without me) and my father, who gets confused easily, could not remember what he discussed with his doctor and why all of a sudden the MRI was canceled. I have tried to call this doctor (or anyone on his staff) to find out what the situation is with my dad, calling 3 times in 4 weeks. I have written him a letter, asking him to call me and gotten no reply. I just called in again and was told he will not talk to anyone on the phone (nor will his staff). No one ever told me that 4 weeks ago when I called in (this is news to me). I don't live in the same town as my father and this doctor (9 hours away), or else I would go in with him on a visit. Do I have any rights under the law, once my father has signed all the necessary HIPPA docs to have me included in his healthcare decisions, that require the doctor to communicate with me about his healthcare? As I said, my Dad is 87, gets confused easily and can't remember conversations. This is the strangest situation I have ever encountered. This doctor is located in New Mexico.

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I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you are having with your father's doctor. Signing a HIPAA form gave you the right to discuss your father's medical information with his doctor, there is no question about that right and the doctor should have discussed with you the reasons for canceling the MRI that had been scheduled with your father.


The penalty is very high for violating HIPAA and disclosing someone's medical information, therefore, in order to protect himself from disclosing information to the wrong person, a medical care provider can decline to give information over the telephone and has the right to require that the person requesting this information come to his office in person.


You asked,


" Do I have any rights under the law, once my father has signed all the necessary HIPPA docs to have me included in his healthcare decisions.......... ?"






By signing a HIPAA form, the individual gives authority for his health care provider to disclose his medical information, it does not give authority to anyone to play a part in making decisions as to any treatment. A person who wants to be part of the decisions on treatment must have the Principal (your father) sign a Medical Power of Attorney authorizing you to be part of those decisions,


I wish I could give you the Answer you were hoping for, and it would have given me great pleasure to do so, but I have an ethical obligation to you to give you only correct Answers, so I am respectfully XXXXX XXXXX you not hold the law applicable to your situation against me



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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, Andrea. Of course, the rude office help did not bother to explain it in those terms, and in fact offered no reason for this policy. Plus, it took them a month to let me know I would not get a phone call back. I have to go to a lawyer to get an explanation. I understand, now.

The doctor or his staff should have told you that their policy was that they did not give information over the telephone or they should have told you that your father needed to sign a Medical Power of Attorney in order to allow you to take part in medical decisions, how else would you be expected to know.