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.
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.