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Florida Healthcare Surrogate Designation: Update Alert!

Florida Healthcare Surrogate Designation

Florida Healthcare Surrogate Designation Changes

by Linda Chamberlain

You can now authorize your health care surrogate designee to receive your protected health information (PHI) and/or delegate decision making authority even if you are not incapacitated. This provides your surrogate immediate access to your health care information and allows them to assist you with your health care decisions.

If you have been to the hospital in the last year you know that most of the time your primary care physician no longer comes to the hospital to see you. Most hospitals have “hospitalists” on their staff. A hospitalist is a dedicated in-patient physician who works exclusively in a hospital, and the hospitalist sees you daily while you are a patient admitted to the hospital.

The hospitalist does not know you, may not have easy access to your medical records or advance directives (Health Care Surrogate Designation and Living Will), and may not realize they are allowed to speak with your spouse, child, family member or friend about your medical circumstances. This often leads to frustration when your surrogate hears repeatedly, “No, we are unable to disclose this information.”

The new Florida Health Care Surrogate Designation provides authorization for your surrogate to access medical information immediately. Previously, you, as the patient, had to be determined incapacitated by two doctors before your surrogate could access any health information or help you make your medical decisions.

Will the new Florida Healthcare Surrogate Designation be available free at the hospital?

Please note the Advance Directives provided to you to sign upon admission to the hospital do not provide this authorization (yet). All the “free” health care surrogate documents I could find online still require a determination of incapacity prior to authorizing the surrogate access to medical information. You will need to contact your attorney to update your Health Care Surrogate Designation.

Is it worth the $$$ to get an up-to-date Florida Health Care Surrogate Designation?

The simple answer is “Yes!” Many of us have several doctors examining us, making diagnoses, and taking care of us.  Keeping track of your medical records, test results, etc. is your responsibility (NOT your doctors’). When you’re not feeling well it is often difficult to remember to keep all of your information organized and to collect your medical documentation. With the new Health Care Surrogate Designation, your surrogate can now assist you with these tasks as well as make the telephone calls to obtain necessary information and updates, coordinate the information between your health care providers, and access your protected health care information.

***For those of you with minor children the new Florida legislation provides parents and/or legal guardians the authority to designate a person in advance of their absence to consent to essential as well as non-emergency treatment of the minor.

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