[ Monday, June 09, 2014 ]
HIPAA and Mental Health:
Jeff [1:26 PM]
HIPAA causes a lot of issues as it tries to balance the right to privacy with the effective working of the healthcare system. One area of acute issues is mental health, particularly involving adults. Here's an article
outlining the issues raised when a child with mental health issues reaches the age of 18, and his parents no longer are automatically treated as his "personal representatives." Before a child reaches the age of majority (usually 18), his parents usually will have the right to access his records, communicate with his caregivers, and make medical decisions for him; but once he reaches 18, unless he gives his consent, the caregiver is limited in the information he can give to the parents, and the child gets to decide on his treatment. The caregiver can still provide information to the parents as people "involved in the care of" the patient, but if the patient demands the caregiver keep the information secret, they must do so in most instances. Plus, even if the caregiver could pass the information to the parents under the "involved in the care" exception, they are sometimes afraid to do so, since that decision could be challenged by the patient.
It's a difficult area where HIPAA's balancing act is going to leave some frustrated. But I don't think the Murphy bill will help.
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