Guardianship of Minor

questions & answers

Question: I have full guardianship of my 17year old nephew. Father has been court ordered to pay 50% of past medical bills. He is refusing until I provide him copies of the bills. Nephew doesn't want to because they show record of the PTSD his father caused and he is afraid of his father retaliating. Am I required to provide them or are we protected by HIPPA privacy laws?

Answer: Unfortunately, HIPAA only applies to certain businesses. Meaning that HIPAA may prevent the doctor who treats him from disclosing what he is being treated for, but HIPAA does not apply to whether or not you can disclose information. HIPAA also permits disclosures for payment purposes. However, if the payment is to you and not to the facility, you may be able to have the doctor give you a summary bill that lists the amounts, but not the diagnosis. If you have a court order that states he is to pay a certain amount and does not say that he has to pay if he sees a bill, then he is supposed to pay the amount without seeing the bill. The problem is that if he does not and you have to file contempt of court against him for not paying, the judge may think it is reasonable for the father to know what he is paying for. There are special protections for psychological treatment, so it is possible that if the judge did have to get involved in whether the father could see the actual bill, the judge may say that because of the problem, the father does not need to know.

QUESTIONS

  • I have full guardianship of my 17year old nephew. Father has been court ordered to pay 50% of past medical bills. He is refusing until I provide him copies of the bills. Nephew doesn't want to because they show record of the PTSD his father caused and he is afraid of his father retaliating. Am I required to provide them or are we protected by HIPPA privacy laws?

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