Health Care Directive
The use of a designation of health care directive or health care power of attorney can reduce the need to proceed with a formal guardianship administration, thereby minimizing the expenses associated with incapacity.
Because of the comprehensive nature of this law, the health care agent is provided with powers that are enforceable by the court. The law also provides for limited liability for both the health care agent and the health provider when the health care agent provides informed consent to the health care provider and all parties
are acting in good faith.
A designation of health care agent is a useful estate planning tool and it should be an essential part of every individual's estate plan.
With the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") and the issuance of regulations pertaining to HIPAA, access to health information by a health care agent on your behalf has become more difficult. The Privacy Rule promulgated under HIPAA restricts the dissemination of your health care information even to your health care agent. It is, therefore, important that a designation of health care agent reference the HIPAA Privacy Rule allowing your designated health care surrogate access to pertinent health care information on your
behalf. In the alternative you can execute a separate HIPPA authorization to release your records to your agent.