HIPAA Release: What Is It and Why Should I Have One?
By Christian N. Horde, J.D., LL.M.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established national standards for the protection of certain health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule put in place limits and conditions on the way health information can be used and disclosed without patient authorization. The rule also provides patients with additional rights regarding their medical information, including the right to examine and obtain a copy of their health records and to request corrections to these records.
Most people want their medical information to be kept private. However, despite its best intentions, HIPAA can still lead to problems for patients and their families. Here’s why: The penalties associated with violating HIPAA include civil fines, criminal penalties, and even possible imprisonment. This in turn causes health care providers to be extremely restrictive about sharing medical information with anyone other than their patient. This includes spouses, children, and other close family members being denied medical information about their loved one.
Ultimately, loved ones might not be able to get information about your condition in a medical emergency because of HIPAA laws. If you were hospitalized and your family could not obtain details about your condition and treatment, it would be extremely frustrating and an emotionally taxing experience. No one wants to be denied the love and support of the people closest to them at the times you need them most.
Fortunately, there is an estate planning document that will help you and your family avoid such problems. A HIPAA Release document allows you to authorize the release of your medical information the people you choose. With a properly drafted and implemented HIPAA Release, health care providers will be able to share information about your medical condition with your loved ones in an emergency.
The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller regularly prepares the necessary estate planning documents with HIPAA Releases and is available to assist you and your family to ensure that you have the support in times of need and emergency. Please contact us at 407-422-3017 to schedule an appointment.