If you become incapacitated, who will make your medical decisions? A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone else to act as your agent for medical decisions.
It will ensure that your medical treatment instructions are carried out, and it is especially important to have a health care proxy if you and your family may disagree about treatment. Without a health care proxy, your doctor may be required to provide you with medical treatment that you would have refused if you were able to do so.
In general, a health care proxy takes effect only when you require medical treatment and a physician determines that you are unable to communicate your wishes concerning treatment.
How this works exactly can depend on the laws of the particular state and the terms of the health care proxy itself. If you later become able to express your own wishes, you will be listened to and the health care proxy will have no effect.
If you are preparing to send a child off to college, there are additional steps to take.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, once your child turns 18, the child’s health records are now between the child and his or her health care provider. The HIPAA laws prevent you from even getting medical updates in the event your child is unable to communicate his or her wishes to have you involved.
Without a HIPAA release, you may have many obstacles before receiving critically needed information, including whether your adult child has even been admitted to a particular medical facility. Should your child suffer a medical crisis resulting in the child’s inability to communicate for him or herself, doctors and other medical professionals may refuse to speak with you and allow you to make medical decisions for your child.
A health care proxy with a HIPAA release would enable your child to designate you or another trusted person to make medical decisions in the event your child is unable to convey his or her wishes.
If you are interested in drawing up a health care proxy document, contact us at R. F. Meyer & Associates. Call us at 614-407-7900, drop an email to Info@ElderLaw.US or just fill out the Contact form on this website at ElderLaw.US/Contact.