Consumer Guide to Health Care
Legal Help and Forms
Advance Directives | Information
Access and Privacy |
Other Health Care Law | Legal Help
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An advance directive describes, in writing, your choices about the
treatments you want or do not want or about how health care decisions
should be made for you if you become incapacitated and cannot express your
wishes. Anyone who is of sound mind and age 18
or older may complete these forms. Wisconsin laws created two forms
of advance directives for health care – the
will and the power
of attorney for health
care. A living will (Declaration to
Physicians) allows you to select the kind of life-sustaining care
you would want if injury or illness leaves you in a terminal
condition (dying) or a persistent vegetative state with no hope of
recovery. With a health care power of attorney, you appoint someone
to be your “agent” to make all health care decisions – not
just those involving life support – for you if you lose the
ability to make decisions for yourself.
In addition, you can also appoint someone to handle
your financial matters using a
of Attorney for Finances and Property.
Right to Direct Your Future Health Care Needs: Who Will Make Your Medical
Decisions When You Can't (PDF, 104 KB), is a
publication from the Department that provides additional information and
resources regarding advance directives.
Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning (PDF, 250 KB; exit DHS),
from the American Bar Association, includes question and answer forms to help you and your
family think and talk about end-of-life health care issues.
Access to and
Privacy of Health Information
Federal and state laws govern your right to get,
read and, in some cases, change the information in your medical
records. They also protect the privacy of your medical records
and other types of health information. These laws have been
interpreted in different ways by different health care providers,
but some general information on your rights and protections under
these laws is available from the following sources.
Information Privacy for Consumers, from the United
States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), includes
information on how the privacy rule of the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may allow you to access
your medical records while at the same time protect the privacy of
your health information.
Consumer's Guide to Health Information Privacy: A guide to health
information privacy that takes into account HIPAA and laws specific
HIPAA - Frequently Asked Questions, also from HHS, provides
answers to a wide variety of questions about access to and privacy
of medical records and information covered by HIPAA. Some of
the general topics covered include:
Medical Privacy from the
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse provides information about
your rights and protections on medical information in various settings and circumstances.
Other Health Care Law
Health Care: Answering Your Legal Questions, published by the State Bar of Wisconsin.
If you need legal help, the State Bar of
Wisconsin website provides
information on finding a lawyer and information on
a lawyer if you have a low income.
The Legal Services
Corporation, a private, non-profit corporation
established by Congress, provides a list of Wisconsin
local legal aid programs
from its website.
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September 10, 2014