HIPPA: Help or Hindrance?Posted by in Aging | Home Health Care | Long Term Care Insurance | Personal Stories
We will leave this for others to decide. We do know that it can be critically important in an emergency situation to have either a POA – Power of Attorney or HIPPA Release form on file with the important players in your parent’s lives. This includes Doctors, Insurers, Banks and so forth. Boca Home Care Services urges family members who have a retired or elderly relative to have the right paperwork in the right files for greater ease in a crisis.
This happened yesterday: a new client was referred to us by her doctor. She has a Long Term Care policy for Home Care. She was discharging from the hospital the next day. She lives with her husband and an adult son is staying with them for now. Sounds straightforward enough, doesn’t it?
As a courtesy, we do a “Verification for Benefits” with the client and the Long Term Care insurer. This reminds the policy holder about the details of his or her policy and what criteria must be met.The client usually must give permission to speak with us. Due to HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Privacy and Security Rules) it isn’t always a simple matter to begin the conversation. HIPPA rules are meant to protect an individual’s privacy. Sometimes a little common sense and compassion are needed to also facilitate assistance.
Since the client could not get all her words out, due to a previous stroke and a current medical condition, the person at the insurance company would not verify any information. This is even when the husband and son were on the line. The son has a limited durable power of attorney but it wasn’t on file with the insurance company.
So here is the lesson; for all of you adult children who have a POA or HIPPA Release form (http://www.hhs.gov/hipaafaq/use/index.html) for an aging parent, start faxing it to the professionals in their lives. Make sure it is on file with the Bank, all Doctor’s, all Insurers, with the lawyer and financial planner, Home Health Care provider Accountant and so forth.
You’ll be happy you did should the need arise to get information in a hurry. This example isn’t an isolated, once in awhile occurrence. I’ve seen it periodically. There can be physical or cognitive reasons why a person cannot speak or say the “authorization” to deal with a third party i.e. Long Term Care insurer and the Home Care company. It is particularly frustrating when the reason why the insurer can’t give permission is the reason they need help or care in the first place.
Anyone with moderate to advanced dementia may not be able to give permission, someone with speech or vocal cord damage cannot verbally give perission. It isn’t just the frustration, it is embarassing and may have real care considerations for the person’s wellbeing.
There is a certain irony to HIPPA in the age of Social Networking and all the access to information out there. So, do your self and your loved one a favor and get the proof of your position to the necessary parties. This most certainly includes anytime a parent or family member is admitted to a hospital or rehab facility.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.