Legal Considerations When Checking Into A Hospital

You will probably be stressed when checking into a hospital, but you need to pay attention to some legal matters. Hopefully your hospital stay is covered by insurance through your employer or otherwise. If not, because of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare subsidies for low income Americans, you can buy coverage before you go at a state or federal health insurance exchange. Once in the hospital, all patients have important legal rights.

One of the most important is informed consent. Informed consent law requires that all doctors and other medical providers tell patients about the benefits, risks, and alternatives of the proposed medical treatment. They must obtain your consent in writing before doing a procedure. Living wills and durable powers of attorney are other important considerations. The first sets out your preferences for medical care in case of an emergency or incapacitation.

A durable power of attorney appoints someone else to make decisions for you if you are unable to. In hospitals, privacy is important to everyone. The HIPAA law takes care of that. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Despite its big name, it’s relatively simple. It keeps medical professionals from disclosing your private health information, including records, to anyone in writing or verbally unless you consent in writing. Your information is confidential unless you say otherwise.

The last important legal consideration for today is medical malpractice. It does happen. If it does, you should consult a lawyer, but the better way is to try to avoid becoming its victim. Ask questions before procedures are done. Check the medicines that are about to be given to you. Ask your family members to stay in attendance to help you with these things. You can do a lot for yourself to get out of the hospital safe and well.

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