HIPAA and How it Affects Parenting

It’s every parent’s nightmare. You get that phone call in the middle of the night delivering the horrific news that your child was in an accident. You rush to the hospital, numb, but ready to serve as your child’s advocate and to make all the right decisions about his care. When you get there, you’re told that you have no say in his care. Ok, then, you wonder: why did they call me? Oh, yes, you are the party responsible for the financial obligations. You can pay, but you can’t say!

For Rae Stone, that is exactly what happened. Here’s her story as reported by wral.com

Rae Stone says her son Forrest had just turned 18 and was still in high school when a snowboarding accident sent him to a hospital in critical condition. He was hooked up to a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

“They took, essentially, the front third of his skull off so that the brain could swell without causing further damage,” said Stone, who lives in The Plains, Va.. “They told us we should prepare for him not to wake up from his coma. I’m like, ‘How do you prepare for that?’”

Legally, Stone’s son was an adult. Under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, his medical issues were none of his parents’ business, even if he was still on their insurance.