The Facts: Everyone over the age of 18 has the right to health privacy.
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act of 1996) laws protect healthcare privacy, placing the responsibility and liability on health providers, companies and institutions to uphold the confidentiality of an individual’s health.
What You Need To Know: In the event of a medical emergency, when someone over the age of 18 becomes unconscious or incapacitated, the only way for doctors to legally share information without the risk of being sued (regardless if it is with a parent, sibling, friend, relative, or stranger) is when the patient has established, beforehand, a health care power of attorney and an advance medical directive, specifying whom doctors can legally contact, and the extent of medical care the patient wishes to receive.
To Be Enforceable: health care power of attorney and advance medical directives must meet the requirements of the local state laws (which often differ from state to state).
To Be Effective: legal documents must be discoverable and accessible to first responders and doctors at the time of the emergency. This is a problem because, oftentimes, legal documents are put away for safekeeping after they have been issued. They are not carried around in one’s personal possession. In an emergency doctors have no way of knowing these documents exist.
What You Need To Do: Get health care power of attorney and advance medical directive documents that are enforceable, discoverable, and easily accessible at the time of a medical emergency.
Get The AMD Card!