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Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break, HIPAA & Powers of Attorney

That's a strange combination isn't it?  Well, as I write this blog, we're in the first full week of Spring Break for many schools in central Indiana.  When I picked up the newspaper this morning, I was reminded again that Spring Break isn't always just fun and games. 

It's only day 2 of Spring Break and already there are headlines in our paper regarding two different instances of local kids getting into life-threatening situations.  One incident was an auto accident involving 4 young adults traveling to their Spring Break location. The second involved a young man with a promising athletic career at a local university getting caught in a rip tide and now in a coma.

That drove home to us, yet again, how much SafelyMD is needed.  It's not just for our elderly parents and those of us in mid-life who understand the need to be prepared, but maybe even more so for our young adult children. 

How were parents notified?

How did the responders know how to contact parents?   Maybe some friends of the students who were there with them knew their parents' numbers or knew the passwords to their smart phones to get that info. Or maybe they had to call friends and family back home to find the information.  But it's not just about notification of the event. What if the injured person has some special medical history, medications or allergies that the responders need to be aware of?

What about HIPAA?

HIPAA rules are intended to be in place to protect a citizen's privacy. However, there are times, such as an emergency event that leaves a patient unable to communicate, when a misunderstanding of HIPAA rules could hinder.  For example, once your child becomes of age, (18 in the U.S.A.) you no longer are the default representative for his or her health care. Depending on the health care provider's understanding of the rules and local requirements, you may or may not be able to get information if your loved ones can't speak for themselves.  You can read about that specifically here.

For a lot more information regarding HIPAA rules, go to the official government HIPAA website.  


Health Care Power of Attorney - Do you need one?

It's a great idea to have one for each family member older than 18.  Did you know that all States provide a free form?  We did some research on that and put together a list of all 50 states with a link to their Power of Attorney Forms.

 Power of Attorney Forms By State

Note that these forms are not created by SafelyFiled.com. We are only providing links to state or state-sanctioned sources. Websites can change quickly, so the legal forms could be missing, invalid, or out of date. If in doubt, please go directly to your State’s official website and search for the form there, or consult an attorney.

You can easily download these forms and fill them out for yourself and any adult family members.  Having them on file in your SafelyMD account is a very good idea.  According to the HIPAA website, a digital copy of that form does suffice in granting permission to share information with you regarding that loved one.  So no matter what local policies may be in place regarding sharing medical information, having this Power of Attorney on file ensures that you will get the information you need to make wise decisions about your loved one's care.
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