Your HIPAA form designates those persons you authorize to receive medical information about you. This form allows your loved ones and others to be informed about your medical conditions should you ever become incapacitated. Without a signed HIPAA form, the people you want to receive medical information may be left in the dark about your medical situation.
HIPAA is short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA laws are intended to protect against the unauthorized release of your private medical information. Facing stiff financial penalties, the medical community is very conservative about releasing medical information without a signed HIPAA form.
To circumvent potential problems, clients need to be proactive in affirmatively authorizing the release of medical information to specific individuals by signing an appropriate HIPAA form. When you have capacity and are able to act on your own, it is no problem to execute a HIPAA form. However, problems can arise when you don’t have capacity and are unable to authorize the release of your medical information. Mentioned below are a few incidences which exemplify the importance of a signed HIPAA form for you and your loved ones.
A mother received a call from her daughter’s college roommate that her daughter was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. The mother lived hundreds of miles away and was obviously deeply concerned about her daughter. She frantically called the hospital and was told that her daughter was there. When she inquired about her daughter’s condition, the nurse told her that she could not legally give her that information. The nurse explained that because her daughter was an adult, the hospital needed authorization from the daughter specifically identifying those persons to whom the hospital could release information. The mother was told that her daughter was in no condition to make such an authorization. Can you imagine how helpless the mother felt?
Another example: Your trust and your durable power of attorney for asset management have incapacity clauses. They state that in order for your successor to take over and manage your assets upon your incapacity, two physicians must sign a declaration that you are no longer able to act. To provide these declarations, physicians have to disclose your private medical information. Some are reluctant to do so without authorization under HIPAA. If this situation arises when no prior HIPAA form has been signed, a major problem exists. The doctors won’t sign the declarations without a HIPAA form and the individual has no HIPAA form and is unable to sign a HIPAA form.
We strongly encourage our clients to sign a HIPAA form so your loved ones will not have to feel the worry and stress of being kept in the dark about your medical condition should you ever become incapacitated.
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