Privacy deserves to be respected and preserved. But HIPAA [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1997] protects the patient, not the institution or the provider. And the patient can informally agree to share her health care information with her family, with friends, with anyone she chooses.
No one likes hospitals, except when they need one. Unfortunately, families caring for their elderly loved ones are finding that hospitals, and other care facilities, are full of legal red tape that is increasingly difficult to navigate.
Sometimes all of the red tape can
make you feel like hospital policy has simply been carried too far. Regardless,
in order to successfully navigating the maze, you must do your homework ahead
For example, what do you know about HIPAA?
HIPAA is the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1997.” The title of a recent article in the New Old Age Blog of The New York Times summarizes the issue well: “A Privacy Law Often Misinterpreted.”
One purpose of the law is to ensure the privacy of medical data. However, this doesn’t mean the hospital is intended to protect the privacy of the patient from their loved ones, especially when that loved one is present during an examination! In fact, HIPAA does not prevent health care providers from sharing relevant information regarding a patient with their family members, unless the patient objects.
The original article is a worthy and enlightening read, whether you are a patient, a family member or even a medical professional. Apparently, there is a lot of misinformation leading to misinterpretation when it comes to HIPAA.
Bottom line: make sure you have
up-to-date Advance Health Directives that specifically provide your designated
agents with current and future access to all of your medical information,
verbal and written, with specific authority to execute HIPAA releases on your
Weather it is your HIPPA release, Power of Attorney, or trust, you must take the time necessary to ensure that your ducks are in a row. Do not put of thinking about these matters until your situation has escalated to crisis-level.
Call (303) 409-3547 today to get in touch with a Colorado estate planning attorney you can help to ensure that you have the planning necessary to protect yourself and your family in place.
If you would like to learn more about the powerful estate planning tools that are available to you and your loved ones, you can click here to register for a free seminar in the Denver area.
Reference: The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (March 27, 2013) “A Privacy Law Often Misinterpreted”