A well-conceived estate plan will include advance healthcare directives, such as a healthcare proxy and a living will. To ensure these documents are effective, it is also necessary to create a HIPAA authorization. This document allows your private healthcare information to be released by medical providers to healthcare agents and family members in the event of an illness or injury that leaves you incapacitated. By consulting an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure your plan includes the necessary healthcare directives and a HIPAA release.
The Law Office of Carey Thompson, P.C., conveniently located in Fort Worth, provides first-class estate planning services to clients in Texas. When you partner with us, we will design an estate plan that suits your needs. We are keenly aware that no one likes to think about becoming incapacitated; however putting in place advance medical directives and a HIPAA authorization is the best way to protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones.
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of patients’ medical information. HIPAA requires healthcare providers and organizations to establish safeguards for patients’ electronic health data. The law was amended in 2003 by the HIPAA Privacy Rule which provides standards for sharing protected health information (PHI). Generally, the rule limits disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.
What is a HIPAA Authorization?
A HIPAA authorization is a consent form that a patient must complete to permit a healthcare provider or business associate (e.g. health insurance carrier) to share PHI for a purpose not permitted by the privacy rule. This includes sharing the information of an individual who has a healthcare proxy or living will in place and is unable to communicate due to incapacity.
The authorization form must be in plain language and also include:
- A description of the specific protected health information that will be disclosed or shared
- The name of the individual or entity authorized to make the disclosure
- The name of the person or entity to whom the information will be disclosed
- The purpose of the disclosure (e.g. at the request of the individual)
- A specific time frame and expiration date for the authorization
- A date and signature of the individual giving the authorization
A HIPAA authorization must also include certain notices. This includes informing the individual of his or her right to revoke the authorization. Finally, the individual giving consent must be provided with a copy of the HIPAA authorization.
Why do I need a HIPAA authorization?
It is crucial to include a HIPAA authorization in your estate planning documents because doctors and other healthcare providers cannot release protected health information to a third party without obtaining written consent from the patient. In medical emergencies, individuals named as agents in healthcare directives, as well as family members, can face obstacles obtaining information about their loved one’s condition. By providing health care providers with a signed HIPAA authorization, healthcare agents and family members can make informed medical decisions as quickly as possible.
How Carey Thompson Can Help
Carey Thompson is a highly regarded estate planning attorney with a well-deserved reputation for providing his clients with exceptional service. Having been raised in Tarrant County, he understands the needs of a community that he has proudly served for over 10 years. Carey Thompson’s practice is dedicated to helping clients plan for the expected and the unexpected. This includes helping them create the necessary healthcare directives, including a healthcare proxy and a living will.
A healthcare proxy, or power of attorney for healthcare, allows you to name a trusted person to coordinate your medical care with your doctor if you become incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions independently. A living will declares the end of life care (e.g. ventilator, feeding tube) you wish to receive or have withheld when you cannot communicate your preferences. In short, creating healthcare directives and completing a HIPAA authorization will ensure that your healthcare agent, loved ones, and medical team can obtain your medical records in an emergency.
Contact Our Experienced Fort Worth Estate Planning Attorneys
If you want to ensure that your estate plan contains the necessary healthcare directives and a HIPAA authorization, The Law Office of Carey Thompson, P.C. is the informed choice in estate planning. When you partner with us, we will take the time to understand your healthcare concerns and design a plan that will best suit your needs. Knowing that planning for incapacity is daunting, we will offer you knowledge, compassion and the personal attention you deserve.
Of course, estate planning is about more than planning for incapacity. Our legal team is also highly experienced at preparing wills, living trusts, and irrevocable trusts, as well as business succession plans. Above all, we will work closely with you to ensure that you, your assets, and your loved ones are protected. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation.