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Is It a Crime to Tape Record Your Doctor? (PC 632.01)

social-media-300x225Visiting the doctor can be an intimidating experience, especially when your doctor is using complex medical terms that you don’t understand. So, when your doctor calls you to give you medical results or advice, you may feel compelled to record that conversation so you can be certain of what the doctor told you.

However, what you do not realize is that recording your doctor without his or her permission is a crime in California.

Confidential Recordings (PC 632.01)

Under California law, it is illegal for you to intentionally eavesdrop or record a confidential communication without the consent of all the parties involved in the communication. Previously, this law did not include conversations with doctors or medical professionals.doctor-300x200

However, Assembly Bill 1671 went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. This law defines communication with healthcare providers and state-licensed medical professionals as “confidential communications.” The law amends California Penal Code Section 632. Under this law, you could be convicted of a crime if you record a medical professional without his or her consent with the intent to disclose or distribute the communication.

If you are convicted of violating PC 632.01, you could face severe consequences. You could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison and fined up to $2,500.

The Purpose of AB 1671

You may be wondering why it is against the law to record your doctor without his or her consent. The bill stemmed from the publishing of confidential videos that were recorded during an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s reported involvement in selling fetal parts. Sensing that patients and clinical staff needed their confidential interactions to be protected, Los Angeles Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez introduced the bill.

This law was seen as a necessary way to improve and expand on existing laws protecting the invasion of privacy. It is aimed at preventing medical professionals from suffering unnecessary harm. However, some think the law goes too far. Do medical institutions deserve the same level of privacy as ordinary citizens, or should they be required to be more transparent with their actions? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Regardless of your views, if you plan on recording your next conversation with your doctor, make sure you get consent and that you also record the doctor consenting to the recording.

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About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.