How Can I Overcome HIPPA Laws, When I Only Want to Help My Child?

We work with a special group of moms and dads – Parent Coaches – who, just like you, have been affected by a child’s substance use. They are volunteers who receive special training from the Partnership and our clinical partner in order to help other families through similar struggles. In these blog posts, they answer parents’ most frequent questions.

The goal of the Privacy Rule (HIPPA) is to assure that an individual’s health information is properly protected while allowing the sharing of this information with concerned family or friends. While the intent of HIPPA is to strike a balance between protecting a patient’s privacy and involving loved ones in a position to help, it can sometime be a barrier to family members trying to help and understand a loved one’s illness.

HIPPA specifically permits service providers to share information with family members if the patient is present, or if the patient agrees or has given permission generally by signing a release form.

If you are not getting information about your loved one, the first thing to do is to be sure a release of information has been signed allowing the provider to share information with you. This can be easier said than done as the only way to confirm this may be by asking your loved one. Some treatment facilities institute a blackout period when an individual first enters residential treatment so the possibility of holding this conversation may be delayed. As frustrating as it is, you may need to be patient while seeking this information.

Sometimes, it is possible to give information to a service provider even if they cannot reciprocate with sharing information with you until a release is signed. This at least enables you to ensure that the information you have regarding you loved one’s functioning is known to the clinician. Not all facilities permit this exchange, however. Ultimately, if your loved one does not want the clinicians to share information with you, there is nothing you can do until they change their mind. There are ways to plan a conversation with your loved one to discuss this and attempt to influence them to allow the exchange of information. A call to the Partnership’s Parent Helpline will connect you to someone who can help you plan this conversation. In the meantime, try to take care of yourself and be reassured that your loved one is in good hands and as they gets better there will be plenty of opportunities to be help and support them in their recovery.

Would you like to connect with one of our Specialists for one-on-one help and learn more about Parent Coaching? Email us to get started.

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