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Should you have a HIPAA authorization form?

It starts out as a typical Tuesday. Lou has gotten up and the coffee is ready. He has the Wheaties with raisins set for Betty and a nice blueberry muffin for him. They have plans to go to church and then visit with friends. They’ve been retired for almost 20 years, and besides the typical ailments, they are doing fine.  They are still in their South Shore home, but their three kids, Mary Beth, David and Mark, have settled elsewhere.

HIPAA Protects Your Medical History

It starts out as a typical Tuesday for Mary Beth. too. Her husband has left for work. She gets the kids their breakfast, packs their lunches and drops them off at the Y camp on her way to work. Mary Beth calls her parents frequently to “check in.” Being in Virginia was a great move for the family, but she wishes she lived closer to her parents.

The day for Lou, Betty, and Mary Beth turns out to be anything but typical. Mary Beth gets the call from Dad that Mom has fallen. She is on her way to the hospital. Dad is upset and overwhelmed. Their worlds have come to a screeching halt. Mary Beth assures her Dad she will call the hospital and get an update. If Mary Beth was your daughter, would the hospital give her information on your condition?

Since Lou and Betty had a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) form designating each other and their three children as their HIPAA agents, the hospital would be able to share information with them. This form authorizes the HIPAA agent(s) to get information relating to their medical condition. Without it, the hospital can’t release any patient information. Mary Beth just emailed a copy to the admitting desk and was able to get an update for Dad. Mom broke her arm and was bruised. She was OK and would be released in a couple hours.

If the unexpected happens, are you prepared? The HIPAA authorization is just one of several estate planning documents that once completed can give you peace of mind. If you’re prepared, “my oh my what a wonderful day!”

Elder Law Attorney Romano practices Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning. For a list of his FREE upcoming “Estate Planning Essentials” workshops, go to the workshops tab above.

Celebrate Elder Law Month

You’re invited to join me in observance of National Elder Law Month. I will be conducting a free “Estate Planning Essentials” Workshop.

When: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time: 10:00am to 12:00pm

Where: Tufts Library, 46 Broad Street, Weymouth

RSVP: 617-769-9843

The program is part of a nationwide observance of National Elder Law Month during the month of May.  National Elder Law Month is sponsored by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). 

This educational workshop will focus on how seniors can remain in control of their assets, retain all income from their assets, and qualify for Medicaid. Attendees will also learn how to protect their family from nursing home costs and their children’s indiscretions. With more than 37.8 million Americans 65 years or older and with baby boomers growing older, the importance of planning for one’s legal needs has become essential.

Elder Law is a specialized area that involves representing, counseling and assisting seniors, and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for individuals. When clients visit an elder law attorney, they generally present problems beyond the need for a will or a power of attorney. I am familiar with the network of services and providers who assist clients effectively.