Health Care Surrogacy Does Not Require Incapacity: Three Powers You Can Grant Your Surrogate
A health care surrogate is a trusted person who is given the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of another party. If you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make your own decisions, a health care surrogate has the tools that they need to deal with medical issues on your behalf—making sure that your health and well-being are protected.
Though, under Florida law (Florida Statutes Chapter 765), incapacity is not necessarily required for a health care surrogate to act. As a competent adult, you have the right to let another person act as your surrogate, even if you are still capable of handling your own affairs. Here, our Tampa health care surrogate attorneys highlight three powers you can grant to your trusted health care representative.
Health Care Surrogacy: The Powers You Can Grant
While health care surrogacy is certainly an important tool to protect you should you become incapacitated, you may also benefit from it while still fully competent to handle your own affairs. Specifically, you can grant the following three powers to your health surrogate:
- Apply for Public Health Benefits: When set up properly, you can give your health care surrogate the authority to apply for public benefits on your behalf. Dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other government programs can be frustrating. A trusted health care surrogate, such as a spouse or an adult child, can represent you.
- Access Confidential Health Information (HIPAA Release): Under federal law, patient information is strictly confidential. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents medical professionals from sharing information with third parties. As important as HIPAA is, the law creates some challenges. Sometimes people have trouble accessing information on behalf of their loved ones. You can give your health care surrogate full access to your medical records.
- Provide Informed Consent or Refuse Treatment: Finally, you can also appoint a health care surrogate to deal with doctors on your behalf. You do not need to be ruled incapacitated or incompetent to act through a trusted health care surrogate. It is your right to decide how you want your affairs to be managed.
A Flexible Tool: You Decide How Health Care Surrogacy Works
If you want your health care surrogate to have immediate power—meaning the power to act even though you are still fully competent—the legal documents must specifically grant that authority. Without specific language indicating that surrogacy has immediate effect, incapacity will be required. Make sure your documents are drafted to suit your needs.
Of course, immediate health care surrogacy is not right for everyone. You may not want someone to act on your behalf while you can manage your own affairs. Still, many older adults who are fully competent to make their own decisions feel more comfortable giving a spouse, an adult child, or other trusted party the full power they need to help them handle medical care.
Speak to Our Tampa, FL Health Care Surrogacy Attorney for Help
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Tampa health care surrogate attorneys are diligent, effective advocates for clients. If you have questions about PPP, we are available to help. To set up a confidential consultation with an experienced Florida elder law attorney, please contact us today. Our law serves communities throughout Hillsborough County, including in Apollo Beach, Thonotosassa, University, Brandon, and Westchase.