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What Authority Does Your Healthcare Power of Attorney Have?

As of March 20, 2014, the law related to Ohio healthcare powers of attorney changed. A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone, called an agent, to make your health care decisions for you if you are either temporarily or permanently incapable of making those decisions for yourself. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of your health information by prohibiting medical providers from sharing such information with third parties, including spouses, unless the third party seeking your health information has a HIPAA release.

A common misconception is that a healthcare power of attorney contains a general HIPAA release, when the truth is that not all do. A standard Ohio healthcare power of attorney only empowers your agent once you are incapacitated. Only then can your agent act and/or access your health information.

Why does this matter? Until you have a healthcare power of attorney with specific HIPAA language or a HIPAA release form, your agent cannot access your health information until you are incapacitated. There are several situations in which you may want your agent to access your health information prior to this time. For example, if you have an upcoming medical procedure, you may wish to provide your healthcare agent access to your health information to enable your healthcare agent to discuss post-procedure treatment and recovery plans with healthcare providers.

For more information, contact the estate planning attorneys at Onda, LaBuhn, Rankin & Boggs Co., LPA so we can discuss your goals and make sure your plan accomplishes your goals. Please contact Derek Graham at (614) 716-0500 or [email protected] or Brittany Pace at (614) 716-0500 or [email protected]

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 at 11:39 am and filed under Commercial Litigation.

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