Advance Health Care Directives

An Advance Health Care Directive authorizes your Agent to make medical decisions for you if you cannot express your wishes or make the decisions yourself. It also authorizes your Agent to obtain copies of your medical records.

If you have been to the doctor recently, no doubt you had to sign a statement concerning the doctor’s right to release your medical records. This is because of recent federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), which imposes liability on health care providers for releasing this information without your authorization. So that your loved ones can access your medical records in an emergency, we also recommend that everyone include a HIPAA Medical Records Authorization in their advance directives, to authorize the release of this information to your loved ones.

A “Living Will” (also called a Patient’s Declaration) serves to inform your attending physician, if it is your wish, that you do not want extraordinary medical measures taken in the event of a terminal illness, especially those that would cause you pain or discomfort, if those measures would only prolong the natural dying process. This document backs up the expression of your wishes in your Advance Health Care Directive.