If you do not have a current HIPAA form, or have loved ones who don't, then this week's project is especially for you. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and was enacted in 1996. The most notable affect of HIPAA is its endeavors to protect personal information and health data. While this is important, sometimes it can also get in the way, preventing family members from receiving information on a hospitalized loved one.
Having a current HIPAA form will designate the names of those that are allowed to receive information regarding your medical care. If you do not have a HIPAA form, your loved ones may not be notified if you have been hospitalized, and can be denied any information regarding your care or condition.
In one situation, an elderly woman had slipped in the shower, breaking her hip and gaining a severe concussion. The elderly woman suffered from Dementia and could not recall what had happened, nor could she retain information given to her by the doctor. The doctor refused to inform her son and daughter-in-law what had caused the fall, despite the fact that they were her caregivers and she lived in their home. They had hoped to know what symptoms to look for and how to prevent such an event from happening again. However, without a HIPAA form, the doctor would not give them any information.
If you do not have a HIPAA form created, or your form is outdated, now is the time. Parents do not need a HIPAA form for any minor children, however, as soon as an individual is a legal adult (18 years of age), a HIPAA form is necessary and should be created. If you are married, you and your spouse should both have HIPAA forms listing each other to avoid any difficulty receiving information on your spouse in a time of emergency.
If you have questions or need help regarding HIPAA forms, contact MH at 888.222.1328.