While most people think of money and property when they hear the term “estate plan,” some of the most important goals we accomplish for clients have nothing to do with assets at all. We work to protect your rights regarding medical treatment and health care.
Every adult should have certain health care documents as part of their estate plan, regardless of age. An accident or illness can strike at any time, and it is best to be prepared.
A HIPAA authorization is a critical document that is often overlooked. Huizenga Law can prepare an authorization document that allows you to receive critical assistance when you need it.
Understanding HIPAA Restrictions
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, often simply referred to by the acronym HIPAA, is a federal law that was enacted to protect information about medical patients when that information was deemed sensitive. The law aims to protect patient privacy. Health care providers can get into serious trouble for violating HIPAA restrictions.
For that reason, medical professionals, insurance companies, and others associated with health care will refuse to discuss patient information with anyone not specifically authorized to receive that information. That means, for instance, that if your live-in partner was in a car accident, the doctor could not tell you about their condition. Or if you had a child in college who needed medical treatment but was having trouble getting authorization from your insurance company, you could not help them out.
To avoid problems and enable loved ones to have access to medical information when they need it, we prepare HIPAA consent documents for our clients as a key component of their estate plan.
Disclosure Requirements May Differ
It seems like you should be able to authorize access to necessary medical records just by writing a simple sentence on a piece of paper. However, the complex requirements of HIPAA and the implementing regulations mean that your release form must contain particular language depending on the person you wish to authorize. We ensure that the authorization documents we create are tailored to provide access according to your wishes.
A HIPAA Authorization Works Best in Conjunction with Other Health Care Documents
Giving someone authority to access your records and discuss your condition and treatment is an important step, but to fully protect health care matters and provide peace of mind for your loved ones, you should also have other documents in place. These include a medical power of attorney or health care proxy document that authorizes someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and a living will specifying the type of medical treatment you would want in certain serious medical situations.
These documents only take effect if you are unable to make or communicate your decisions directly. They are sometimes referred to as advance directives.
Allow Huizenga Law to Provide You with the Right Authorization Documents to Ensure You Get the Help You Need
HIPAA authorization can enable loved ones to provide valuable assistance in an emergency situation. This document and other health care documents could enable you to receive care in accordance with your wishes and without unnecessary delays. Perhaps more importantly, they provide security for your loved ones and reduce uncertainty. Every adult member of your family should have a HIPAA authorization prepared in case of emergency.
To talk to the team at Huizenga Law about the ways we can protect your family’s health care interests in the future, contact us today.