HIPAA Not Always in a Patient’s Best Interest

Today, I received a telephone call from CA, the owner of the personal care home where my son DS lives. She wanted me to sign a form. I did not understand exactly what it was, but I told her to fax it to me so I could see it. The form is very brief. It goes like this:

Designating a Representative

I, (DS’s name), authorize (representative’s name) as my representative. (Representative’s address and telephone number)

To act on my direction in matters of:

  • Health and Well Being
  • Access to any records pertaining to me and my care
  • Receiving information and notices pertaining to my care and condition

Signed: (blank) Date: (blank)

There is also a statement at the bottom that says “I chose not to designate a representative at this time,” with space for signature and date.

I told CA it looks like the signature needed is supposed to come from my son. I wrote my name, address and telephone number in the blanks for the representative. She could have done that. Maybe she was just letting me know that she was asking DS to sign this form? I honestly have a little trouble understanding CA because of her foreign language accent. I believe the purpose of this form is to protect her in discussing DS’s problems with me in the highly unlikely event DS would try to sue her about it.

I have no problem with this form. DS has nearly always allowed me to act as his representative without us signing any form to do it. He is okay with me acting as his representative. It is the forms he objects to.

This form reminds me of the times we have run into trouble with the mighty HIPAA. Of course, you know ( you mean you didn’t?) that HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There is a part of HIPAA that has to do with privacy. Hospitals, doctor’s offices and insurance companies are supposed to be very careful not to disclose your medical information with anyone you don’t give them permission to. You must give the permission in writing. Even your family members are not to be privy to your medical problems. Even if said family members are your caretakers. Even if you are mentally ill, paranoid delusional, and certain that that piece of paper some hospital staff member is trying to get you to sign is giving away all your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the rest of your life.

I have been told at different times during the past year that DS needs to have a healthcare power-of-attorney. I was even given some sample forms. Mostly these forms deal with the manner you choose to die if you are diagnosed with something terminal… many pages of it. I could not bring myself to go over these papers with DS. I read them… boy, that was a chore… and they said nothing about anything that would help us with DS’s mental illness. Good luck trying to get him to sign them. What I need is authority to make his doctor’s appointments for him, to be informed of treatments, to know his whereabouts if he has been admitted to the Wellstar Behavior Health hospital again when he is away from me.

I wonder if I bring the above form to the hospital or a doctor’s office, would it get me past HIPAA? I do not know. I am not a lawyer, and I am not sure it is legal enough. There’s not enough legalese in it and there is no space for two witnesses, a notary public’s seal, and my blood dispensed during a full moon of a leap year. 

I could say much more about it, but that is all I have for tonight.

Explore posts in the same categories: HIPAA, Mental Illness

2 Comments on “HIPAA Not Always in a Patient’s Best Interest”

  1. Tim Says:

    I hope you keep writing. Georgia’s mentally ill and their families need for you to keep writing.

  2. Hero Says:

    Thank you, Tim. This is a big job. So much has happened this year and I am trying to write all I can before it slips away from my memory.

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