A HIPAA Authorization form will also protect you if you become incapacitated. If you sign the form, then the person that you chose will be allowed to see your medical records, so that he or she can make decisions about your care when you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself. Without the form, laws on medical record privacy could prevent that person from being able to access your records.
HIPAA and Health Care Privacy
Passed in 1996 and going into effect the following, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is currently enforced legislation that is designed to reduce abuse and fraud in the health care industry. While the law is very comprehensive, the part that we generally focus on in terms of estate planning is the protection of your health information.
Every aspect of your health information is protected under HIPAA. Any information created or received “covered entity” such as a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, insurance company, or nursing home is protected under the law.
The federal government, under the Department of Health and Human Services, has levied severe financial penalties against institutions that are found to violate HIPAA laws. These violations generally stem from unauthorized access to or release of a patient’s physical and/or mental health information.
Understandably, health care providers want to protect their institutions from legal penalties. Therefore, many have strict rules as to who can access your health care information. This is why an HIPAA authorization is critical for your estate planning.
What a HIPAA Authorization does
With a HIPAA Authorization as part of your estate plan:
- You can nominate a trusted family member, friend, or trustee to have access to your health information. This person is usually the same person that you name to be your health care power of attorney and can make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.
- The authorization takes effect when the health care provider receives a written request.
- You can recant this authorization at any time. In your HIPAA Authorization document, you will note your right to revoke as well as the revocation procedure.
It is recommended as part of your estate plan that you have a Health Care Power of Attorney in addition to a HIPAA authorization form. The Fetty Firm can help you draft both and make sure they are signed.
Estate planning is a very, very complex process. It is best that you turn to a family law attorney with extensive experience in helping North Texas residents like yourself have an effective estate plan in place. Contact the law offices of Rashelle Fetty today.