Question 1: What is a HIPAA Release?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law which limits who can view confidential medical records and information. The law sets out a list of people who have the right to view your confidential medical information, such as your doctors or health care insurance company. If you want someone else who is not specifically identified under the law to view your information, you can create a release form which will allow your doctors to share that information with the people you select.
Question 2: Why is a HIPAA Release Important?
When you create a medical directive, such as health care proxy or health care power of attorney, you select someone else to make medical decisions for you if you become unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. To make knowledgeable decisions the person you select must have the right information, which is what a HIPAA release allows for.
Question 3: How Do I Make a HIPAA Release?
Most medical directives contain a HIPAA release clause or provisions within them. If you created a medical directive which does not contain a HIPAA release, you can speak to your estate planning attorney about creating a document that you can include with your medical directive, or one you can send individually to your healthcare providers.
John R. Vermillion & Associates, LLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.