The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes certain privacy rules that healthcare providers must adhere to when disclosing patient information. Referred to as "protected health information," HIPAA governs information transmitted electronically using a phone, fax or computer. Under HIPAA, what is considered protected health information is rather broad. Since violating the terms of HIPAA can result in expensive fines and even jail time, healthcare providers typically err on the side of caution and withhold medical information if they believe HIPAA compliance is involved. For these reasons, it's important for wills, healthcare powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and advance directives to take into account HIPAA and what counts as protected health information.
At Blake & Associates, our attorneys work closely with clients when drafting wills, durable powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and other documents that require HIPAA release clauses and forms. To learn more about HIPAA and its importance when creating an estate plan, contact the estate planning attorneys at Blake & Associates.
Addressing HIPAA in Wills, Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Proxies
Since healthcare providers are extremely cautious when it comes to disclosing healthcare information, it's important to have appropriate language in a will or other estate planning document that address HIPAA concerns. In some cases, healthcare providers may still reject a request for a principle's or ward's healthcare information even though an appropriate HIPAA waiver has been completed. Here, it's important to have language included in estate planning documents that will hold up in court.
Releasing Protected Health Information and HIPAA
In order to avoid problems associated with releasing protected health information, a will, healthcare proxy, the fiduciary powers article in a trust or guardianship order should include a provision that specifically allows for the transmittal of protected health information under HIPAA. The language included to specifically reference HIPAA and its privacy provisions is found under 42 USC 1320d and 45 CFR 160-164. The language should authorize psychologists, psychiatrists and other doctors, insurers, pharmacies, laboratories and other healthcare providers to release a person's medical information to their agent, fiduciary or healthcare representative.
Need More Information? Contact Blake & Associates Today
Regardless of whether you're thinking of creating an estate plan or currently have one in place, our attorneys can discuss HIPAA and how it could affect your will, healthcare proxy or trust. For more information on how we can help you, contact the estate planning lawyers at Blake & Associates today.