HIPAA Release

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

To authorize a medical provider (Covered Entity) to release your personal health information (Protected Health Information or PHI)There are a number of specifics requirements to meet under the applicable law 45 CFR 164.508. The authorization should be in writing. It should describe the health info to be disclosed. This could be your entire medical record, or only specified components. Who should make the disclosure? This could be a specific physician or hospital or a list of providers. A broader approach could be used to indicate a category of providers. For example, “any physicians, hospitals or other medical providers who have provided treatment, other medical services or payment for same, from June 1, 2004 through and including the date of this Authorization”. When does the authorization to disclose PHI expire? This could be: “upon a child attaining age 21”, which might suffice for a minor’s care. It could be “2 years from the signing of the authorization”, which should be more than adequate for a life insurance application. “One year from death”. This might be used in a health care proxy to assure the agent access to your records while alive, and possibly to evaluate post death records without the need to qualify as the executor of your estate. Although you retain the right to revoke any authorization to disclose your PHI (and the authorization should state this) the revocation is not binding on a medical provider (covered entity) until they receive it. This minimizes the issue of their liability for disclosing information based on an authorization they held prior to the revocation. o The purpose for the disclosure should be explained. This might be limited to the minimum information to determine whether you have the ability to function as a trustee or should be replaced, or only that information necessary to underwrite you for life insurance.

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