A Healthcare Power of Attorney names who makes healthcare decisions if you are unable.
A healthcare power of attorney is very similar to the Financial Power of Attorney except instead of dealing with financial decisions, this document deals with medicaid or healthcare decisions. If you are creating a power of attorney and giving someone else the power to act, you are known as the “principal”. The person or persons receiving the power use to be commonly known as the “attorney-in-fact” or even just the “attorney” but these terms lead to confusion and is now known as the “agent”.
A healthcare power of attorney is usually durable in nature which means that it survives your incapacity. If comprehensive, it can direct the agent to keep the principal in his or her residence when possible, provide for discharge of medical personnel and even consent to certain treatments in the event of diagnosed drug or alcohol addiction. Since the adoption of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), every healthcare power of attorney should contain the compliant language to allow medical care providers to exchange information with your agent. If your documents do not contain the necessary HIPAA compliant language, you should consider having them updated.