The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy and security of certain “protected” health information. In sum, HIPAA prevents healthcare providers such as hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and other healthcare workers from disclosing your medical records and other protected health information, or “PHI”, to third parties without your written consent. There are a few exceptions to this law, but generally-speaking this is the rule.
Although you may appoint an agent under a medical power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity, a medical power of attorney does not give your agent the authority to obtain your medical records and other protected health information. An agent acting under a medical power of attorney may need to obtain medical records for the purpose of making healthcare decisions, or to obtain a second opinion about a proposed course of treatment. Therefore, estate plans often includes a HIPAA Authorization that gives your agent, under a medical power of attorney, the authority to also obtain your medical records or other protected health information under the HIPAA rules.
However, medical records and other protected health information may contain highly sensitive and confidential information. This can include personal information about yourself that you tell your doctor in the course of seeking medical treatment. An estate planning attorney can therefore advise and assist with deciding whether to include a HIPAA Authorization as part of your estate plan and who, if anyone, should have the authority to obtain your medical records and other protected health information under the HIPAA rules.The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is NOT legal advice. You should consult an estate planning attorney if you have any questions about the information contained on this page or about your particular circumstances or those of someone you know.
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Personal and attentive legal representation — Attorney Adriane S. Grace listens to her clients and personally advocates for them. She will take the time to understand your legal issues and create a plan of action that fulfills your goals.
If you are in the Frisco, Texas area and need an estate planning, probate, guardianship or social security attorney, contact Adriane S. Grace today for a consultation. She is available for legal consultations by telephone or video conference.
Adriane S. Grace accepts estate planning, probate, guardianship, and social security legal matters in Frisco, Plano, Prosper, Allen, McKinney, Celina, Denton, Carrollton, Little Elm, The Colony, Lewisville, Cross Roads, Aubrey, Pilot Point, Oak Point, Richardson, and Dallas.*
*The main office for Law Office of Adriane S. Grace, PLLC, is located in Frisco, Texas. All office locations are by appointment only.