Health Care Power Of Attorney

An accident or sudden illness can affect any of us at any time. If such an event occurs, then a Health Care Power of Attorney helps to insure that your wishes are followed. This article summarizes how these instruments work under Ohio law.

What Is A Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Health Care Power of Attorney is an instrument in which you dictate who has authority to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are temporarily unable to do so. The document lists several persons who have this power. The first available person on the list holds this power and can overrule the desires of others if necessary. Of course, this attorney-in-fact must follow your wishes. This person may view all of your medical records; consult with all health care providers; choose whether or not to have procedures performed; hire and fire doctors; obtain second opinions; order a transfer to a different hospital; deal with insurance companies; and generally make all decisions affecting your health care.

Why Do I Need A Health Care Power of Attorney?

Doctors want to respect the patient’s wishes and provide health care appropriate for the situation in a prompt manner. If they have a Health Care Power of Attorney, then they can follow promptly the directions of this person and not delay by waiting to achieve a family consensus. If the family disagrees, then this document dictates who is in charge. Also, this instrument allows you to control who makes the decisions. This helps remove the uncertainty as to whether or not your wishes would be followed. In addition, insurers and other health care providers have a duty not to disclose the contents of medical records. Unfortunately, this can delay or stop action because of an unwillingness to fully discuss the case details. A person armed with written authority can cut through the confusion and give timely guidance.

Answers To Some Frequently Asked Questions

Even though doctors will consult with a spouse, there is no substitute for having written authority to act. If no spouse is available, then there is inevitable uncertainty as to who has the power to make decisions. Although each state has laws in this area and they are not identical, it is quite likely a state will honor a Health Care Power of Attorney made elsewhere. If you spend a lot of time in a different state, then obtaining a Health Care Power of Attorney in the other jurisdiction would be advisable to provide some security. If any of the persons listed as contacts in the Health Care Power of Attorney move or change telephone numbers, then this will not invalidate the instrument. Health Care Powers of Attorney are easily obtained and inexpensive. Upon entering a hospital or nursing home, the staff will inquire as to the existence of the instrument and fill-out the forms if necessary. They usually do not charge a fee for this service. Attorneys can also prepare a Health Care Power of Attorney. If you need a health care power of attorney, then call us right away at (937) 667-8805.