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What is a HIPAA Release Form?

Topic: Advance care planning

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A HIPAA release form is a document that allows you to record who you wish to have access to your health information in the event that you are not able to give consent. The form allows you to choose what medical information and records would be shared with the expressed individuals, including the date range and the type of records (such as mental health records and communicable diseases). 

Importantly, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) follows a “minimum necessary” approach to the distribution of medical information. A doctor is only allowed to release the minimum amount of information necessary to move forward with treatment.

Who needs a HIPAA release form?

Every adult, regardless of age or wellness, should consider completing a HIPAA release form to specify who should be able to know about their condition if they have a medical emergency. 

This is not just important for the elderly or ill. Consider this scenario: a young adult (18+) attending college in another state needs emergency medical treatment and cannot communicate. Hospital staff will likely not be able to provide information about the patient's condition by phone to family members. If the individual had completed a HIPAA release form and provided a copy to their parents, the parents would be able to access this information about them from a distance.

Make sure the right people have access to your medical records

In a situation where you are unable to consent to a release of your medical history, it is essential that a loved one has the necessary information in order to make sound decisions about your treatment and care. If you have not completed a HIPAA release form, there may be situations in which your loved ones are not able to access information regarding your condition. If you complete a HIPAA release form, the individuals included on the form will be able to have access to your healthcare information you specify.

How is a HIPAA release form used?

HIPAA release forms are used to authorize individuals to have access to information about your medical condition and history. If you wish for individuals other than your health care agent to have access to your medical history, you can express that through a HIPAA release form. 

The forms are used to allow medical care providers to release information to individuals, such as on the phone or if you are unable to communicate, such as in a coma. 

Where can I find and fill out a HIPAA release form?

There is no official HIPAA release form. Some states do have state-sanctioned HIPAA release forms, but as long as a form is HIPAA compliant it should be accepted. Download a HIPAA release form. 

What should I do with my HIPAA release form after it is complete?

After you have completed your HIPAA release form, you should distribute copies to your physicians, your health insurance provider, your lawyer, and any individuals that you have authorized on the form itself. Keep a record for yourself, too. 

This is a lot easier to do if you have Cake account! Cake is an end-of-life planning website (you're on our blog) that lets you create, upload, and share important healthcare, legal, and funeral planning documents with anyone who has an email address. Create a free Cake plan to securely share your HIPAA release form with the people who need access to it. 

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