Health Care Decisions
The Estate Planning Law Firm of William O. Boyd, P.A. can provide assistance in pre-planning for making health care decisions when a client is no longer able to do so by the appointment of a health care surrogate and planning for the release of medical information to the surrogate which may otherwise be restricted by HIPAA regulations.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
A designation of health care surrogate allows your trusted friend or family member to make medical treatment decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes to doctors. Without one, you must have a guardian or ‘conservator’ of your person appointed by the court before decisions can be made on your behalf.
A designation of health care surrogate not only saves precious decision making time, but it also makes sure that the individual you trust the most has the power to make these most important decisions for you if you are unable to make the decisions on your own.
Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), absent a written authorization from the patient, a health care provider cannot disclose medical information to anyone other than the patient or the person appointed under state law to make health care decisions for the patient. The Regulations promulgated under HIPAA specifically authorize a HIPAA Authorization for release of this information to persons other than you or your personal representative. Thus, you should consider creating such an Authorization so that loved ones and others can access this information in addition to the personal representative.