Here's Why You Need This Crucial Document
A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from a young woman about her mom. The daughter was understandably upset. I could tell they had a really great relationship. The situation was that the mom was driving an elderly uncle from Illinois to Florida when she had a brain aneurysm near Atlanta.
Here's what happened next.
The daughter, 28, had traveled from Illinois to Georgia to be at her mom's side. When I looked up the mom's details, I discovered the daughter was not on her mom's HIPAA permissions, (no one was, actually) so I wasn't able to discuss private information about her mom.
The mom, lying in ICU in a Georgia hospital is just a few months older than me, is single, has no one listed on her HIPAA and is unable to speak for herself at this time. I only hope and pray that she will be able to soon.
Regardless of how desperately I wanted to help this family, my hands are tied by federal law.
If you're not familiar with HIPAA, it stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and it became federal law in 1996. The are four essential components to HIPAA, the most important for consumers to know is this:
HIPAA requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.
As consumer, it's your right to keep your health information private and protected so that only those people who you give specific permission to, can have access.
This is so important because in the case of an event where you are unable to speak for yourself, your loved ones may need to know critical medical information about your status in order to help you.
I know this is a topic we don't want to talk about, but P-L-E-A-S-E, take 5 minutes to create a HIPAA release form in case that person (or persons) needs access to private financial or health information.
I don't want to see what happened to this family happen to you.
Check your state for specific form requirements. eforms also has sample forms and templates you can use by state:
Until next time...
Patty Gale, CFEI, is a Financial Recovery Counselor and Certified Financial Educator for smart, fearless midlife women who don't have million dollar retirement accounts. She is the creator of the financial program, Rediscover, Reignite and Reinvent, which is redefining financial wellness for women 40+.