On March 17, 2020, the federal government acted to ease privacy regulations to make it easier for you and your family to see your healthcare provider over the Internet. Accordingly, if you are concerned that a Stay-at-Home Order may prevent you from fulfilling your parental responsibilities as a custodial parent or one who shares responsibility, don’t fret; there are accommodations available.
You may have heard of HIPAA and how it protects the privacy of your health information by imposing restrictions on how that information can be used and to whom your doctor can disclose it. Those restrictions may have discouraged some healthcare providers from seeing patients over the Internet via their computers, tablets or phones and through applications such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
Now, with a large segment of the population facing travel restrictions due to the coronavirus, the government has just issued new rules that permit healthcare providers to avoid restrictions when they act in good faith to use telehealth or communications via telephone or the Internet for treatment or diagnostic purposes, even if those services are not directly related to COVID-19.
What does this mean for you and your family? It should mean that your physician, nurse, therapist or other health care provider should be more inclined to see and treat you or your family members by means other than face-to-face meetings in his or her office. Those means may already be in place, so before you contemplate an unnecessary trip, contact your providers to see what means of meeting virtually are already place while you and your children remain safe and healthy at home.
If you have questions about parenting time, child custody, or another family law matter during COVID-19, The Harris Law Firm is working remotely and available to help. Call to speak with an attorney.