Written by attorney Brittni A. Sullivan

Health Care Proxy

In our Elder Law practice, we often times see our clients experiencing difficulty in getting health care information regarding a love one. While privacy and HIPAA are important, you want to ensure that you are able to get important information regarding your love one’s medical condition. A Health Care Proxy is a document in which you designate an agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. The Health Care Proxy often contains language allowing your healthcare agent to hire and fire physicians and health care professionals. Federal regulations specifically “HIPAA,” or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, make it difficult for anyone, even a spouse, to obtain any medical information on your behalf absent a properly executed Health Care Proxy. You must read the Health Care Proxy carefully and make sure the document gives your agent the ability to do exactly what you would like them to do, for example, have access to your medical records. It is also important to note that signing a new Health Care Proxy will revoke the previous Health Care Proxy you may have signed in the past. This is important when you take the time to establish a comprehensive Health Care Proxy and then go to the hospital and sign a very basic Health Care Proxy with the staff at the hospital which will revoke the comprehensive one you signed previously.

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