HIPAA Questions And Answers
Any comprehensive estate plan that covers medical issues such as advance health directives, living wills and powers of attorney must take HIPAA regulations into account. HIPAA is an acronym for the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It protects our right to privacy in our personal health information.
At the law office of Paul V. L. Campo Attorney At Law, we guide North County San Diego families on all health-related estate planning issues, including HIPAA regulations and advance directives. You can turn to us for thorough counsel and attentive service as you consider these crucial issues as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Q: I’ve heard of HIPAA, but what is it?
A: As mentioned above, HIPAA actually stands for the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law first passed by the United States Congress in 1996 and amended over the years. Among other things, the law requires all medical personnel to protect a patient’s right to privacy in his or her personal health information. When we are incapacitated, we depend on the agents we have previously named in an advance health care directiveto make medical decisions for us. In order to permit our agents to make meaningful decisions, we must waive our right to privacy and authorize them by name to access our confidential medical records. Otherwise, our agents cannot know how to make intelligent decisions and carry out our wishes.
Q: Does HIPAA affect spouses?
A: Yes. Spouses should also be listed as an agent in an advance health care directive.
Q: What if I’m already listed as the agent on the advance health care directives?
A: A person who is suddenly incapacitated must previously have waived in writing his or her right to privacy in protected health information to allow the persons acting as agents under his or her advance health care directives to access such information. The waiver and authorization apply regardless of whether one is a spouse or not. Otherwise, we face the bizarre possibility that our named agents may be denied access to our confidential medical records.
Protect Your Privacy And Provide Peace Of Mind For Your Loved Ones
There’s too much at stake to leave these critical areas of the law up to chance. Make sure you get sound, experienced legal counsel before signing any documents or nominating someone as your agent. Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation with an experienced attorney.
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