What Is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
First, let’s talk about a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give authority to a person (or multiple persons acting jointly) to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. The person who you give authority to is called your agent. You can give your agent a range of powers, including financial and other powers in a Durable Power of Attorney. At it sounds, a Healthcare Power of Attorney gives your agent the authority to make your health care decisions if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. This would become critical if you became ill or incapacitated. A Healthcare Power of Attorney can also serve another function which is to instruct your doctors to release your protected health care information to your agent. Healthcare privacy laws (known as HIPAA) demand that doctors and medical care providers keep your health care information private. Without a HIPPA Authorization, your doctors may not release this information to anyone, even if someone needs to make a critical decision about your health care. This could be detrimental to your health and well being.