Many people who have a Last Will and Testament (will) and power of attorney in place believe that their estate planning is complete. However, with the introduction of HIPAA laws came the importance of an additional document, called a HIPPA waiver, which may need to be included in estate planning process. If you need to create a HIPAA waiver for trusts or if you would like to learn more about estate planning, contact the skilled attorneys at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer at (571) 403-2619.
What Is HIPPA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law that ensures the privacy and security of medical information. Under HIPAA, a patient has the right to privacy of their health care records. In addition, health care providers hold a duty of confidentiality to their patients, meaning that they and are not permitted to disclose any medical information about a patient to another person or entity without their consent.
HIPAA was brought into effect in response to the rise of identity theft and privacy issues brought about by the increased use of digital medical records. The law applies to all types of health care providers and organizations, including not just physicians and hospitals, but also pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists, and any other providers of medical services. HIPAA relates to all protected health information, which is defined as any information concerning a person's health condition, health care, or payment for the provision of care. The law imposes hefty fines and possible imprisonment on any health care provider or organization who violates HIPAA regulations.
What Is a HIPAA Waiver?
Under the Code of Virginia 32.1-127.1:03, a HIPAA waiver must be provided for a healthcare entity to be permitted to disclose an individual's health records to a third party, such as other medical providers and family members. A HIPAA waiver names specific persons or entities who may receive an individual's protected health information. Thus, as the name suggests, a HIPAA waiver provides the right to waive HIPAA laws for the designated individuals named in the document.
What Is a HIPAA Release and Authorization?
A HIPAA release and authorization are the same as a HIPAA waiver. While it can take many names, this legal document serves the sole purpose of allowing specific individuals or entities to access your protected health information.
Why Is HIPAA Authorization Important?
Many people have a trust agreement that gives decision-making responsibility to a designated representative in the event that they are incapacitated, unable to make decisions, or unable to speak for themselves. What many people do not realize, however, is that a HIPAA waiver is also needed to ensure that a designated representative is able to access the information they need to make informed decisions. Without a HIPAA waiver, a medical provider is not permitted to disclose any information about an individual's health condition, health care, or treatment options. Furthermore, without a HIPAA waiver, a medical organization is not allowed to release an individual's medical records to anyone else or provide any information about an individual's medical bills.
If you become incapacitated and you do not have a HIPAA waiver in place, your designated representative would not have access to the information they need to make informed decisions on your behalf or to manage your affairs effectively. Rather than being able to immediately execute on your wishes, they would have to go to court to obtain permission to access the information they need, which would likely be a time-consuming and costly process. A HIPAA waiver is therefore an essential component of an estate plan that works together with a trust agreement to protect your wishes in the event of your incapacitation. If you would like to learn more about HIPAA waiver for trusts, or if you have any questions about estate planning, contact the compassionate and experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer,
How Do I Create a HIPAA Waiver?
As governed by the Department of Health & Human Services, a HIPAA waiver is a written document that must include the following:
- A description of the information that is being authorized to be disclosed
- The name of the medical provider(s) who is authorized to disclose this information
- The name of the person(s) or entity who is authorized to receive this information
- The purpose of disclosing this information
- The expiration date of the waiver or an expiration event that applies to the waiver
- The name, date, and signature of the person who is authorizing their information to be disclosed
A HIPAA waiver can also be created as a universal document that applies to all of an individual's medical providers. This cuts down on paperwork by allowing the individual to provide one HIPAA waiver for all of their medical providers and to provide a previously created HIPAA waiver to any new medical providers they see.
Once you create a HIPAA waiver, it is important to give a copy to each of your medical providers as well as all of your designated representatives as named in the waiver. Changes to an established HIPAA waiver can be made as needed, and it is possible to revoke a HIPAA waiver at any time. The best way to ensure that your HIPAA waiver applies to all of your medical providers and complies with all requirements is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer to schedule an appointment today.
Learn How The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer Can Assist With Your Estate Planning
Some people hesitate in creating a HIPAA waiver because they are unsure about whom they wish to appoint as their representative or they are concerned about an expected change in circumstances in the future. It is important to realize, however, that if the unexpected were to happen and you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself, it would be very difficult for your loved ones to access the information they need to effectively manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf without a HIPAA waiver.
At The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer, we have a deep understanding of how Virginia state law and resources relate to aging and disability. We are here to provide you with caring and professional legal advice concerning HIPAA waiver for trusts and all of your estate planning needs. Contact us at (571) 403-2619 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you.