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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Elderly Mother's Expired California Identification Card Leads to Power of Attorney Difficulties for Adult Daughter When Mother Is Hospitalized

An elderly mother had been suddenly hospitalized, and her adult daughter who lived far away had arrived. But, in addition to the current crises, it turned out that the mother's California Identification Card (used by seniors who no longer have a drivers license) had expired six months ago. The daughter needed to obtain Power of Attorney quickly in the emergency, but ran into difficulties since the mother no longer had a California Identification card. Secure Horizons, the Medicare Supplemental, had not been paid by the mother for several months and was lapsing. But, they would not take a payment over the phone due to HIPPA.

This was the sad story of misfortune I heard today from the adult daughter. She finally had two of her mother's neighbors sign as witnesses for her at a notary's. She was then able to get a new California Identification Card for her mother and start the process to get Power of Attorney for herself. A payment had to be mailed to Secure Horizons, not made over the phone, as she said they could not admit the mother was on Secure Horizons due to HIPPA (confidentiality).

Long distance caregiving is at high risk for these types of unexpected problems. The adult daughter, who lived far away, had no way of knowing the Mother had let the California Identification Card expire, or that the Secure Horizons Insurance had not been paid by the Mother and was in danger of lapsing.

The mother also appeared to have entered early stages of dementia, that had not been evident in their long distance phone conversations.

She gave me permission to write about her story on the website so that others can beware of having a similar situation develop. Thank you, my friend, and good luck to you and your mother during this difficult time. Best wishes, Kristi

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