By Debbie Forté
What is a health care directive? A Health Care Directive (also called a living will) is a document that express your wishes to medical personnel and your loved ones what treatments you will allow in the event of total incapacity, coma or life threatening illnesses. In example, if you become brain dead with no chance of recovery you can elect to not be put on life support or have life support removed. You can elect which surgeries, medications and treatment plans you support or wish to decline in the event these decisions have to be made.
It allows you to name an agent(s) to also be able to make medical decisions for you as well in the event you are unable to.
What is a durable power of attorney? A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place to handle your finances in case you ever become mentally or physically incapacitated. A durable power of attorney simply means that the document stays in effect if you become incapacitated and unable to handle matters on your own.
With a valid power of attorney, the trusted person you name will be legally permitted to take care of important matters for you — for example, paying your bills, your banking needs, managing your investments, or directing your medical care — if you are unable to do so yourself. Your agent can handle mundane tasks such as sorting and opening your mail, depositing your Social Security checks, as well as more complex jobs like watching over your retirement accounts and other investments, or filing your tax returns. Your agent doesn’t have to be a financial expert; just someone you trust completely who has a good dose of common sense.
What is a HIPPA authorization and who needs one? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is a Federal law that required the establishment of national standards to protect the privacy of patients’ health care information. The Privacy Rule, which took effect on April 14, 2003, regulates the use and disclosure of “Protected Health Information.”
This authorization allows your doctor or hospital to disclose protected health information to a third party specified by you (your agent–spouse or family member) to obtain necessary information in order to make medical decisions for you in the event of you being incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.