When your health turns sour and you slowly are unable to make the decisions you need to make due to your condition, you may want to have a healthcare power of attorney in place to make medical decisions on your behalf. A healthcare power of attorney is essentially a document that makes someone you trust a healthcare proxy that can dictate medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. You may have heard of several news stories or seen in the movies where someone is in a vegetative state and families mull over their decisions on whether or not to take the incapacitated person off of life support. A healthcare power of attorney takes that dramatic situation out of the question. Your healthcare proxy would be in charge of determining your treatments and important decisions like those. This is why it is critical to work with a lawyer to ensure that your healthcare proxy is someone you can trust with your life.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive is basically a written document of your medical preferences and choices in a situation where you are unable to communicate them. A healthcare power of attorney falls under advance directives because they may ultimately make medical decisions on your behalf. The written document for your medical preferences is something you can use to inform your healthcare proxy to ensure they are acting with your best interests in mind. Because the circumstances around your life may change from time to time, it’s important to regularly review your advance directive to ensure your preferences and wishes are up to date.

What Do I Need to Know About HIPAA Privacy Laws?

HIPAA, or The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act works to protect patient privacy in the medical world. However, these privacy laws can interfere with a healthcare power of attorney. Your healthcare proxy may need to access your medical records to determine what the best course of action is for your medical situation. However, HIPAA privacy laws can restrict them from doing so, even if they have a healthcare power of attorney. We can assist you while developing your plan to ensure a release form is put into place, signed by you, to ensure your power of attorney has access to your medical records in case of an emergency.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Set Up a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

Setting up a healthcare power of attorney can be confusing to take on by yourself. From understanding HIPAA privacy laws, advance directives, and more, it is important to ensure your healthcare power of attorney is set up properly, so you get the best care imaginable in an emergency situation. Reach out to Thomas-Walters, PLLC by calling (919) 424-8277 to schedule a free consultation today.