Why HIPAA laws are causing concerns among parents

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A mother says she can’t access her daughter’s medical records, even though her daughter is covered under her insurance.

“Very powerless. I mean, I can’t do anything,” the mother said.

After caring for a child for 18 years, being there for every fever or stomachache, parents might be shocked to learn once your child turns 19, you won’t necessarily have access to their medical records.

The HIPAA privacy rule became effective in 2001 and is there “to ensure the privacy of patients is protected while allowing health data to flow freely between authorized individuals for certain healthcare activities.”

That means your son or daughter has to sign a document listing the people they’ll allow doctors to talk to about their condition.

“Never thought about this, she’s under my insurance, I pay for everything, she’s still my 100% dependent so I would never think that the hospital wouldn’t give me the information,” says the mother.

This woman’s daughter is currently at UAB Hospital. She was told her daughter is talking about self-harm and nurses refuse to release her, even though the mother wants a second opinion. Attorney Jim Sears tells me in this case, a probate judge will appoint the girl a Guardian ad Litem.

“The Guardian ad Litem would speak on behalf of the individual, would review everything and see what’s in the best interest of that individual. The decision will be made by the judge,” says Sears.

“It’s very hard right now because I just want to be able to care for her. And take care of her.”

There is a HIPAA compliant release form parents can fill out with their child. Officials advise parents and child both keep a copy. You can download that form here.

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