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What Is A HIPAA Authorization, And How Does It Work?

By E. Christopher Caravette

March 24, 2017

In our lifetimes, most of us will face a serious illness or debilitating condition. Most of us also wish our loved ones to be kept well informed about our condition and illness. But unless one has completed and properly executed a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization, our loved ones may be denied access to that important medical and health information.

The HIPAA Authorization gives healthcare providers permission to share information about your medical conditions and health care with as many people as you wish. But these Authorizations are very specific, and generally require reference to particular people, including spouses, partners, and children, before providers can speak with or provide information to them. Most doctors’ offices and hospitals have these forms available upon request. We also have these forms in office.

It is important to distinguish between a Healthcare Power of Attorney (or Health Care Surrogate Form) and a HIPAA Authorization. The HIPAA Authorization allows access to information, but only a Healthcare Power of Attorney (or Health Care Surrogate Form) allows an individual to make decisions based on that information. Though these other documents also give your agent access to your medical and health information, you should have both documents in place to protect your wishes and allow your loved ones to act on your behalf.

We routinely prepare HIPAA Authorizations for our clients and would be happy to assist you with yours.

For additional information, please contact me at christopher@caravette.com.

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(Note: The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. Plan to discuss your particular circumstances with an attorney for how this might apply to you.)