Reporting Michelle Durham
By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local parent, devastated by the loss of his son to a drug overdose, is personally appealing to President Obama and others to change the nation’s medical privacy laws.
He believes if he had access to his son’s records he would have known he was on heroin and been able to get him the help he needed to save his life.
Nothing will ever take away the pain that Gregg Wolfe feels over the loss of his 21-year-old son Justin, a Temple University senior, but he wants to make sure parents who are still providing health insurance to their children get the information they need.
“As long as they are legally within our household, he is under my insurance, we should be apprised as parents,” says Wolfe.
President of Healthcare Advocates in Philadelphia Kevin Flynn sees this regularly and says, in addition to the Federal Privacy laws, HIPPA, state laws and military and veteran affairs privacy laws “once your child turns 14, they can deny everyone else access to their medical records. The government has looked at it. Privacy is more important. If you give up your privacy then all of a sudden employers are looking at your medical records. Privacy laws are a double edged sword; they can help, but they can definitely hurt.”
His advice? If you suspect your child has an addiction problem you can involuntarily commit them; it’s called a 302.
He also recommends hiring an interventionist to guide you through the process.