According to HIPAA, you have a right to keep your medical information private. However, if you ever become incapacitated and want a family member to make medical decisions on your behalf, HIPAA may prevent that person from accessing valuable medical information.
A HIPAA release can enable specific family members or friends to receive your medical information. Contact our Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel team today to learn more about creating a HIPAA release.
What Is a HIPAA Release?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law that prevents medical providers from sharing confidential information about patients with others. While this act can help keep your medical information private, it can also prevent loved ones from accessing your medical records if you become incapacitated.
A HIPAA release or authorization form allows specific people to access your medical information. For example, you can create a HIPAA authorization form to enable your agents, successor trustees, family members, or other trusted individuals to access your medical records should you become incapacitated.
While there is no standard HIPAA release form that is valid for all healthcare providers, your attorney can help you determine how to help your family bypass the HIPAA privacy rule and access protected health information.
Why is a HIPAA Release Necessary?
HIPAA protects your private medical information from unauthorized individuals. While this act does allow a patient’s “personal representative” to view their medical information, different healthcare providers treat this term differently. While some medical practices may be willing to disclose healthcare information to your family members, others may hold to the HIPAA rules more strictly.
As a result, filling out a HIPAA release form can act as a safety measure to ensure that specific family members can view your medical records should you become incapacitated. Your family will need a comprehensive understanding of your medical information to make decisions about resuscitation and life-saving procedures on your behalf.
For example, your family member may need to determine whether to allow the following:
- Doctors to perform CPR if your heart stops
- Medical professionals to take you off a ventilator
- Doctors to perform risky procedures and interventions
Who Should You Authorize in a HIPAA Release?
Choosing the person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf can be overwhelming. We recommend picking someone who knows you well and shares similar values about life and healthcare decisions. Additionally, if you have a close family member in the medical field, they may be able to make more informed decisions than another family member or friend.
HIPAA Release and Healthcare Power of Attorney
If you want to ensure that a trusted individual can make medical decisions for you, we also recommend creating a healthcare power of attorney. This form allows a specific person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
Contact a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney in Central Virginia
At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we can help you create a HIPAA release form, healthcare power of attorney, and other documents to prepare for the end of your life. Contact us today at 434-589-2958, or in Powhatan at 804-598-1348 to schedule a consultation.