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5 Things You Need to Know About Checking Into a Hospital

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 14, 2015 3:57 PM

When checking into a hospital, legal concerns are often the last things on your mind. But as it turns out, there are quite a few legal questions you should be aware of if you're checking into a hospital.

Here's what you need to know:

  1. Obamacare: Obviously, you'd like to know whether your hospital visit is covered by insurance. the recent Supreme Court decision upheld Obamacare's subsidies for low-income Americans, so if you don't already have health insurance through your employer or otherwise, you can purchase coverage at a state or federal health insurance exchange.
  2. Patient Rights: All patients have certain legal rights when it comes to their health care, most importantly, informed consent. Informed consent requires physicians and medical providers to inform patients of all the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives regarding their medical treatment, and to obtain written consent before treating a patient.
  3. Living Will and or Durable Power of Attorney: A living will sets out your preferences for medical care in case of emergency or if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney designates someone else to make those (and other) decisions for you. Both may be essential in determining your medical treatment should you be unable to make your own health care choices.
  4. HIPAA: The acronym that sounds like a large animal, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has two main functions: (1) prohibiting employed Americans from being discriminated against in connection to their health insurance coverage, and (2) prohibiting doctors and medical professionals from disclosing patient records without consent. HIPAA protects the confidentiality of your medical records.
  5. Medical Malpractice: The last thing you want to think about heading into the hospital is something going wrong while you're there. Unfortunately, medical malpractice does happen, and you should be aware of your rights and legal recourse should you receive negligent medical treatment.

If you've been injured, either leading to a hospital stay or during your time there, you may want to consult with an experienced injury attorney about your claim.

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