In this edition of Parenting Impossible, Annette speaks with a very special guest, her husband and business partner, Mark Worthington. Mark is Senior Counsel at Special Needs Law Group of Massachusetts and is a Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law. He has also been named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list every year since 2008.
Annette and Mark begin with their perspectives on a topic they’ve been hearing a lot about from community partners, clients, and within their own social circle: the importance of having your legal healthcare decisions properly documented. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare system’s procedures have drastically changed, preventing people from getting in touch with loved ones that may be hospitalized or in assisted living facilities.
They begin by breaking down the difference between having a Healthcare Agent set up or guardianship in place. While both give others the legal right to make decisions regarding healthcare, the process and powers vary. Mark also explains why it’s so crucial to have these documents in place before a pandemic or tragedy strikes.
Annette and Mark then jump into the world of HIPAA authorizations, which is consent from a patient to release information to authorized individuals. Without this legal authorization, the hospital or medical facility will be fined. While these authorizations hold no decision making power, Mark explains why they are essential for family members.
Finally, the couple dives into a discussion on living wills and what they really entail. They also give advice on how to decide who to choose for these types of documents and where to go if you don’t have someone you trust.
Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.