HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Congress enacted HIPAA to increase the medical privacy for individuals. Just like with almost every law that Congress passes there is usually a good motive behind the law, but the application of the law creates issues. HIPAA was passed with good intentions of keeping all of our medical information private, but in its application by hospitals and doctors it has created a lot of issues for those that don’t have a signed HIPAA form.
Because of the HIPAA law, if a loved one is in a car accident and admitted to the hospital unconscious the hospital will refuse to even give out what room number you are in for fear of violating the HIPAA rules. This is why it is imperative that you and your loved ones have a HIPAA form which authorizes the doctors and hospital to release your medical records to those you want having access to this information.
Often times, as part of a comprehensive estate plan, a health care power attorney will be created, but if a HIPAA form does not accompany this document your power of attorney will not have access to your medical records to make health care decisions for you. If you are unable to speak for yourself and make your own medical decisions a health care power of attorney accompanied with a HIPAA form is critical.
One has to be very careful when it comes to having a HIPAA form prepared for them as not all HIPAA forms have the required elements to make it valid. In order for your HIPAA form to be valid it must contain the following elements:
- A description of the information to be used or disclosed that identifies the information in a specific and meaningful fashion;
- The name or other specific identification of the person(s), or class of persons, authorized to make the requested use or disclosure;
- The name or other specific identification of the person(s), or class of persons, to whom the covered entity may make the requested use or disclosure;
- An expiration date or an expiration event that relates to the individual or the purpose of the use or disclosure;
- A statement of the individual's right to revoke the authorization in writing and the exceptions to the right to revoke, together with a description of how the individual may revoke the authorization;
- A statement that information used or disclosed pursuant to the authorization may be subject to re-disclosure by the recipient and no longer be protected by this rule;
- Signature of the individual and date.
If you are concerned that your HIPAA form does not meet these requirements you should have a no-cost consultation with one of our attorneys for a comprehensive review of your estate plan. If you and/or your loved ones do not currently have a HIPAA form, we can assist you and/or your loved ones in creating this critical document.
Contributed by MH Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.