We tend to avoid the doctor orhospitals unless we absolutely need one. Besides the germs and bad hospitalfood, thereâ€™s all that confusing paperwork to deal with. But eventually you ora loved one will need to visit the doctor or hospital for your health â€“ and youmay encounter some legal red tape that makes matters even stickier.
Sometimes the red tape is simplyhospital policy gone too far. Regardless, navigating the maze requires doingyour homework ahead of time. For example, what do you know about HIPAA?
HIPAA is the â€œHealth InsurancePortability and Accountability Act of 1997.â€ The title of a recent article inthe New Old Age Blog of The New York Times summarizes the issuewell: â€œA Privacy Law Often Misinterpreted.â€
One purpose of the law is toensure the privacy of medical data. Nevertheless, this doesnâ€™t mean thehospital is intended to protect the privacy of the patient from their loved ones, especially when that loved one is presentduring an examination! In fact, HIPAA does not prevent health care providersfrom sharing relevant information regarding a patient with their familymembers, unless the patient objects.
The original article is a worthyand enlightening read, whether you are a patient, a family member or even amedical professional. Apparently, there is a lot of misinformation leading tomisinterpretation when it comes to HIPAA.
Bottom line: make sure you haveup-to-date Advance Health Directives that specifically provide your designatedagents with current and future access to all of your medical information,verbal and written, with specific authority to execute HIPAA releases on yourbehalf.
For more information on this subject,contact IdahoEstate Planning and schedule aconsultation. Remember,good planning is no accident.