Serving Massachusetts clients in the preparation of HIPAA Releases
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. Any violation of this law entails strict penalties and fines.
The HIPAA Release grants immediate authority to another individual—your “health care agent”—to act as your HIPAA Representative and gives him or her immediate, present access to privileged medical information. The reasons for a HIPAA Release may include:
You want your agent to contact your doctor’s office about a question on a bill, or discuss your medical condition with your doctor if you are hospitalized. A HIPAA Release would allow your agent to do that.
You want your agent to have access to your medical information and condition, in the event you are seriously injured and can’t grant permission due to your comatose state.
Generally, a HIPAA Release is needed, in addition to a Health Care Proxy with an included HIPAA Release, because the Health Care Proxy requires your attending physician to certify that you are incompetent, and you may want someone to have access to your records before that time.
A HIPAA Release, prepared ahead of time, can save you and your loved ones untold time, worry and stress.