Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
August 30, 2021

Three Tragedies and a HIPAA

Stethoscope with financial statement

If you’ve been keeping up with our firm, then you’re no stranger to our style: we love our stories, and we love educating our friendmly (that’s you, our friends who we consider as our family).

So, let’s talk about HIPAA, aka The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that protects your health care privacy and prevents disclosure of health care information to unauthorized people. Need a story? We thought so too. Here are three fictional scenarios that highlight the importance of this estate planning tool.

First, let’s meet Betty. A middle-aged woman who was tragically involved in a hit and run accident. Betty was left severely injured at the scene and was admitted to the hospital. The hospital informed her children of her location but, upon their arrival, the hospital could not disclose any details regarding their mother’s condition or prognosis. This is because Betty did not have a HIPAA Authorization. With the HIPAA Authorization, Betty could have given authorization for the release of her healthcare information to her children, and the hospital would have disclosed her prognosis with them. But, instead, they are left with unanswered questions and heavy hearts regarding the condition of their mom.

Whew. How tragic for Betty’s family. That story didn’t sink in the importance of the HIPAA Authorization? Let’s read a page from 19-year-old Jacob’s journal.

“My mom always told me to stop speeding, but I didn’t listen. I am in college now; I’m practically a grown man! But I guess I still lack some sense of responsibility. One night I recklessly crashed my vehicle on the freeway, leaving me unconscious at the scene, and a few of my friends injured. We were all taken to the nearest hospital, where my friends informed my parents about our location. Because I did not have something called a HIPAA Authorization Form, the hospital could not legally disclose anything about my prognosis with my parents. I wish someone would have told me about this sooner. Mom and dad were so worried.”

We wish someone would have told you too, Jacob.

Next on our storytime extravaganza, we have Ken and Ashley. An unmarried couple with one child. Unfortunately, Ashley and their daughter Symone were involved in an accident and rushed to the hospital. When Ken arrives, he wants the know the condition of both his child and girlfriend. He can get information regarding his daughter because she is under the age of 18 but, because Ashley did not have a HIPAA Authorization, Ken is not informed about her condition due to federal law.

So, friends, you have the advantage. You’ve just been educated on the importance of the HIPAA Authorization before you even need it. Please don’t waste any more time and contact our office to begin your estate planning process. We’re here to help.

Don’t be like Betty, Jacob, Ashley, or so many others. Be at peace and grant your family peace by knowing that your affairs are in place.

*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.

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