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HIPAA Authorization and End Of Life Decisions

When your time comes, and the end of your life is approaching, you want to know you’ll receive the best possible medical care available. But what happens if you become incapacitated or are in a vegetative state? At that point, you’ll no longer be able to make crucial quality-of-life decisions, unless you’ve had the forethought to establish a Living Will. A Living Will gives you a say in the end-of-life decisions made about you; and that Living Will should include a HIPAA authorization. At Phelps LaClair, located in Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix, we take the entire span of your life into consideration. For your peace of mind, we want to help you plan well and be prepared for all of life, including your end-of-life medical care.

What Is HIPAA?

HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a U.S. law enacted to protect a person’s privacy and to keep their medical records secure. Specifically, it protects health records and information provided to doctors, health plans, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. HIPAA was set in place to establish standards on who has access to a patient’s medical records, and how those medical records can be used.

HIPAA Authorization Form And Living Wills

Your Living Will informs others of your preferred medical treatment, should you become permanently unconscious, terminally ill, or otherwise unable to make or communicate decisions regarding treatment. Establishing that Living Will includes the appointment of a Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care who will carry out your specific instructions and desires, and/or make medical decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. The person (or persons, if more than one medical Durable Medical POA is elected) who fills that role for you is often a family member or a close friend.

It’s essential to complete a HIPAA authorization form as part of your Living Will, because without it, your Medical Power Of Attorney may not have access to the medical information needed to make up-to-date decisions about your care. If authorization hasn’t been established, medical providers may refuse to release pertinent information, citing HIPAA laws as grounds for their refusal. At a time when you can no longer make decisions about your health, you want your Durable Medical POAs to have all the information they need to make the right choices in your stead.

Signing a HIPAA authorization form permits your estate trustee and Durable Medical Power Of Attorney to carry out their responsibilities, and to fulfill your wishes concerning end-of-life decisions. At Phelps LaClair, we’ll be glad to sit down with you and establish your Living Will and a HIPAA authorization form to give your loved ones access to all the medical information they’ll need. Pick up the phone and contact us today, to plan well for your tomorrow.


mages used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/11/2018) Artis Rams (Flickr)

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