HIPAA Release - Estate Planning


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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established standards to ensure medical privacy for Americans. For example, medical providers cannot furnish confidential medical information without a patient signing a HIPAA release. With a HIPAA release, the named agent can receive all healthcare data that the patient him or herself could access.

Why have a HIPAA release?

A HIPAA release allows a designated individual (“the agent”) to talk with and communicate with healthcare providers as if they were the patient. This release is especially useful when loved ones are hospitalized or in long-term care facilities. With the release, a family member can call and check on the status of the patient with the physician.

It also allows the designee to help with paperwork and other medical documentation which could become burdensome on someone who is suffering from illness.

Does my medical power of attorney have the ability to look at my medical records anyway?

Yes, in Texas, an agent designated as the medical power of attorney will have the ability to communicate and get sensitive healthcare information from the patient’s physician. However, an HIPAA release makes obtaining medical information easier as healthcare providers are more likely to accept an outright HIPAA release.

Who should serve as my agent for a HIPAA release?

Because the person serving as your agent will have access to all of your health records, your agent should be someone whom you trust. You should list the individual named as your medical power of attorney. You may also choose to list family members whom you wish to grant the ability to communicate with your healthcare providers about your condition.

Contact me, an estate planning attorney.

Contact me, your Sugar Land estate planning attorney, to discuss your estate plan and see what options make the best sense for you and your family.