The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation pertaining to durable power of attorney for health care and access to important health-related information.
House Bill 126, which is sponsored by State Representative Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), allows the principal the option to make his or her health care power effective immediately, solely for the purpose of allowing his or her attorney obtain health information. Under current law, the agent may only act when the principal has lost the capacity to make informed health care decisions, which creates an obstacle to the agent in obtaining health information about the principal.
“In some cases, agents are unable to fully assist the principal because they have been denied access to important health information,” said Rep. Kunze. “House Bill 126 will give the principal’s attorney access to critical information that is protected under HIPAA, provided that the principal has given consent.”
Among other provisions, House Bill 126 also:
• Specifies that a person who is designated as an agent cannot act as a witness to the health care power of attorney
• Allows the principal the option of nominating a guardian for the principal under a health care power of attorney
• Provides that unless a living will provides otherwise, the living will is revoked by a subsequent declaration
House Bill 126 passed unanimously and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate.