When is a HIPAA Authorization Needed?

HIPAA Authorization
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Estate planning should include a HIPAA Authorization.

Incapacity planning is essential to comprehensive estate planning.

Accidents or illness can quickly turn from bad to worse when a person does not have incapacity documents.

While some of these documents are only important when a person is incapacitated, others are helpful even when you have full mental capacity.

According to a recent HIPAA Journal article titled “What is HIPAA Authorization?,” one such document is a HIPAA Authorization.

HIPAA Authorization is required for disclosing PHI.
A HIPAA Authorization can allow loved ones to have conversations with medical staff about your health care and treatment.

This document became important after the HIPAA Privacy Rule went into effect on April 14, 2003.

The rule outlined standards regarding disclosures of protected health information (PHI).

In general, the rule permits disclosures for payments, treatments, health care operation, and reporting of issues like domestic abuse to public health agencies.

The HIPAA Authorization is used for a health plan member or a patient to grant permission to a business associate or covered entity to disclose protected health information to an entity or individual beyond what would normally be permitted under the HIPAA Privacy rule.

If no HIPAA Authorization is signed, the PHI disclosure would be in violation of the HIPAA Rules.

Severe monetary or criminal penalties could result.

According to federal regulations, a HIPAA Authorization is required for PHI disclosure in a variety of situations.

Generally, these include disclosure or use of PHI beyond what is permitted by the HIPPA Privacy Rule.

One specific instance includes the use of PHI for marketing purposes.

There is an exception for marketing purposes when the communication involves a promotional gift of nominal value or when the communication occurs face to face between the individual and the covered entity.

A HIPAA Authorization is required for the disclosure of psychotherapy notes other than for health care operation, payment, or specific treatment.

An authorization is important for the disclosure of substance abuse and treatment records.

It is also essential before selling PHI or using it for research purposes.

Oftentimes, health care providers will request signatures for specific purposes.

If you want your loved one to be able to talk with treatment providers if something happens to you, a HIPAA Authorization is essential.

Ask your experienced estate planning attorney about including a HIPAA Authorization in your comprehensive estate plan.

Reference: HIPAA Journal (Oct. 9, 2021) “What is HIPAA Authorization?”

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